College Life Part 2 – A Student’s Perspective

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College Life: The Transition

I often wonder who’ll be more nervous going off to college – the parent or the child. When Julia goes, it will definitely be me. Sure, it depends on who you are dealing with, but I think Monday’s post offered a good look at a parent who didn’t expect to be as affected by their child’s new life and period of adjustment.

So what leads some kids to struggle with the transition to college life more than others?  Some parents I’ve spoken to believe their child was so happy and content at home – who wouldn’t miss that? Another friend mentioned her daughter found the party scene to be intimidating because she was stressed ensuring her safety in this world of constant warnings – cover your drink, don’t walk alone, be careful on social media. And what about the kids whose lives have been so structured in sports, school and activities? They are on their own now.

Today, I bring you the student perspective of college…those first few weeks. Go back to Monday’s post if you haven’t had the chance to read the interview with this student’s parent.

The Interview

Before leaving for college, what did you expect? I envisioned it to be a mixture of carefree fun and also incredibly difficult academics that I would struggle with. I thought I would fit in right away, be independent, and not miss home at all.

How close has your college experience come to your expectation? So far, my actual experience has only partially met my expectations. Academically speaking, it’s as much work as I expected, but I did not realize how many resources the college has to help with a heavy coursework, how nice the majority of the professors would be, and how much time I would have to get everything done. All in all, I feel better about the academics than I did coming in. On the other hand, I did not realize how homesick I would be. Every day I realize how much I miss my friends, family, and neighbors, and simple things about life at home. I talk to my mom and dad much more than I was planning on. At first I felt a shock that I was all alone here, but in time I’ve met some great friends and they make the transition much easier. I also found out that college is a lot more fun than I expected, in a party/social sense.

Do you like college life? I definitely do like it here. I sort of feel like I was thrown into a new life where I need to figure everything out on my own, but I also realize that once I do figure out how to successfully live on my own, it will be for my own good. I like being in control of when I study, hang out with friends, eat, and do things for myself. I have already ventured off campus twice; both times I was blown away by how much I love where my school is.

What has the adjustment to college life been like? The adjustment at first was difficult, but over time it got better. Everyone I have met has been friendly for the most part, but it took some time to find good friends and people to hang out with. Once I did, it got a lot better.

What has been the biggest challenge/stress? My biggest stress right now is doing well in my classes and managing how much work I have to do. The classes have been manageable so far, except I have not had any tests or essays due, so I am very nervous for those deadlines to come up.

What has been the biggest surprise of college living? The biggest surprise is how good the food is. I expected college food to be gross, but it is far from it. I have also had fun trying places near my campus.

On a scale of 1 to 10, where do you rate your college experience so far? I would rate it a 7.

Not bad! I think a seven is a great start. These answers made me laugh and cry and made me realize that most kids, in time, will find their way and be stronger for it. Both the social and academic pressure of college life can be overwhelming – it’s no wonder it takes time to adjust.

I can’t thank the parent and student who took the time to share their experience on college living. It sheds light for those of us who will soon be going through it and, possibly, offer comfort for those already in it.

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Frank Killilea
6 years ago

Two great interviews Beth. I’ll ask my daughter if she is having a similar experience.

Jill Romano
6 years ago

Beth, loved hearing both perspectives. I think I’ll use your questions to interview my son when we have parents weekend (in VA starting tomorrow) to see where he stands. Although he seems to be adjusting well the communication is not always the best. No doubt one of the toughest adjustments I’ve had to make!