This one’s for the freshmen. Just in case you haven’t been hearing this enough during your student orientations, RA meetings, and club fairs, welcome to NJIT! The next few years will be a journey. One of the most stressful parts of that journey will probably be the next few months as you try to get settled into college life. But if you keep your wits about you and follow some simple tips, the transition doesn’t have to be so bad.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you are having an issue, you’re probably not alone. Communicate with your friends; you may be able to find a solution together. Also, you’ll find that upperclassmen (think your counselors, RAs, peer mentors, etc.) will be happy to help you if you have any questions. There’s a good chance they may have faced a similar problem when they were freshmen, and who better to advise you than someone who’s been there?
If you’re having questions about academics, you should meet with your major advisors and professors. If you’re struggling with a class, either meet with your professor during their office hours or look into the tutoring facilities the school offers. Check the policies of specific tutoring centers; at some times you can just walk in and at others you’ll have to make an appointment.
If you are just feeling generally stressed out and overwhelmed by the college transition, one of the best things you can do is talk to others about it. Our school has a Center for Counseling and Psychological Services that you can visit if you need to talk about your stress.
2. Don’t overbook yourself.
You’re not doing yourself any favors by signing up for every club on campus. Pick extracurriculars that you are actually passionate about, hopefully one’s that you can see yourself being involved with for the next few years. You’ll make more meaningful connections with the people in those groups and have time for a healthy balance between school and extracurriculars.
3. Plan ahead.
If you can see yourself getting involved with research or having an internship or any other long-term goal, see what steps you can take in the present to prepare for your future. It’s better to think about these things ahead of time rather than waking up one morning and realizing it’s Career Fair day.
4. Don’t force friendships.
You probably had a squad in high school. I understand that when you come to a place where you know no one, you probably feel compelled to find your new squad as fast as possible. But don’t restrict yourself to hanging out with the couple of friends you made at orientation, or your roommates. Be social, interact with as many people as possible. It’ll be easiest for you to find the people with which you truly click if you don’t restrict your horizons.
5. Get yourself into a routine.
During a period where your life is changing, it is to your benefit to create order for yourself. Plan around healthy habits. Maybe some days you eat at GDS and other days you cook for yourself. You could set times during the week to go to the gym. And though you’ve probably heard that sleep is non-existent in college, do try to set a regular bedtime. Don’t neglect yourself and your needs.
The college transition doesn’t have to be bad at all. Just think of it as a new adventure, and you’ll do just fine. Best of luck newbie Highlanders!