Transitions and Changes in College

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You could be transitioning from high school to college, or you could be right in the middle of college with a future career ahead of you. Regardless, you will experience much change in your life in the next few years. My advice to you would be to embrace the change, and that's exactly what this blog is about: practical examples of how you can adjust to entering and living at college.

Change can be beneficial, but sometimes it's hard for individuals to come to grips with the altering environments. Often people have trouble accepting change, they aren't open to it, so begin with an open mind. If you are more receptive to the reality that your life will change it will become easier.  

In the example of going to college for the first time, you could be leaving your lifelong friends, living independently for the first time, or getting involved with different activities that didn't pique your interest beforehand. As someone who has experienced all of these, I can comfortably say it's worth it. I am a pretty open person to regular, productive change, but these particular changes I experienced for the first time in my own life just as you will.

Coming on campus you instantly feel the pressure to make new friends, and if you're currently a student you'll often have friends come and go and have to make new ones regularly. This issue is one that many sociable people worry about, but it can be managed. Focus on you. You live your life, make your own decisions, and enjoy doing it. In all likelihood, you will naturally be surrounded by people who find your lifestyle attractive. However, do not mistake this for being distant; in the first couple of weeks, force yourself to meet one new person a day. If you introduce yourself to someone, he or she will more than likely be drawn to you because most people love the attention you'd give them.

You will also be living on your own for the first time, after having been with your family for a number of years. It's really easy to want to go home every weekend and be in constant communication with your family. Nothing is wrong with calling Mom, but it's also important to focus on becoming your future person in your college years.

I recommend finding a hobby to occupy your out of class time. For some it could be finding a Netflix show, learning to play guitar, playing pickup games of various sports, or finding a scenic place to read the Bible.

Another way to start a healthy independently life is to create a budget for yourself (see my previous blog on budgeting at college). Having a plan of attack when managing finances is a perfect way to begin your college career. Also, learning how to do daily tasks you may not have done back at home would be another step. This could be laundry, cooking, handling car troubles, and pretty much anything that might have been done by your parents before college. These changes in lifestyle are best solved through experience, meaning the best way to succeed in these areas is to actively practice them.  

Change can also mean experiencing situations that you haven't endured before. You might consider pledging a club or tribe or involving yourself in the college ministry at a church. In college the sky's the limit as far as opportunities to try new things, and you shouldn't miss any opportunity to do so.

A comfortable feeling about change is healthy for personal growth; change challenges your past experiences and routines and brings you to new perspectives on life. Experiencing the change that college brings will also enhance your flexibility as a person, an attribute that employers find attractive. Change also brings opportunities for new beginnings. Sometimes a change of pace can help an individual emotionally handle certain situation, allowing him or her to start over in a circumstance that may not have seemed to fall favorably.

Ultimately the biggest combatant of change is fear. We persistently fear alterations in our routines and lifestyle that drive us to live differently. One helpful note I like to add when confronting any type of change is to think about your coming to Christ. If you have decided to follow Jesus, you experienced a radical change in your own desires. Carry that over to your transition to college and your life you experience while attending. Obviously you had to have been receptive to change when accepting the call to follow Jesus, so why not also pursue other changes in life with the same enthusiasm?

Tyler,
Still discovering new ways to live my college life

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