Transitioning to college
Few months ago, I got into a University of Delhi college to pursue a bachelors degree I am passionate about. However, the horrors and confusion of the pre admission era, college anxiety, the miserable dorm searching days, the uneasiness of sharing a small room with a stranger, the lonely, empty gazes at the ceiling and many other things made this transitioning period between school and college one of the scariest as well as one of the most exciting times of my life.
This transition phase brought with it many realizations. I realized that I miss being around my parents as much as I relish this new found freedom. I realized that I long to hug my little brother and teach him the difference between 'licence' and 'license' as much as I enjoy trying to navigate my routes in a strange city. I realized that I crave the solitude of my personal room as much as I love sharing my things with my roommate. I realized that I miss my old friends as much as I look forward to meet the new ones.
Things looked scarier to cope up with because I have lived the past 18 years of my life mostly isolated from the outside practical world and all of a sudden I had to decide how would I live my life, how would I make my payments, how would I save, and how would I deal with complete strangers.
However terrifying and drastic these circumstances were, I believe they were one of the most important happenings of my life. They instilled in me a sense of assertiveness, something that was necessary for my mental health. They helped me take responsible decisions.
The smartest gen-z thing I could do in between all of this was vent out my worries to the people I rely on, and to my surprise, I got to know that I am not alone on this path of fluctuating emotions. Furthermore, I will be talking about the challenges I faced while transitioning from school to college and after.
1. Social and General anxiety
Assuming the worst possible events that can happen to me in a new city and a new university led to a lot of anxious moments for me. I started getting panic attacks thinking about the possibility of getting lost or boarding the wrong metro. Every tiny thing that drifted from my plans started overwhelming me. In addition to that, I came across issues related to low self esteem when I looked at the big, glamorized, and erudite world. I faced lack of energy to survive the next day. Another setback was the drastic changes in the academic environment . some high school subjects were not as demanding as college subjects and this led me to develop anxiety about my performance. Hence, this period was a miserable circle of stress, procrastination, and chasing perfectionism. I would not assert that I have conquered these fears entirely but I can say that I have tried. The initial step I chose was to tell myself that I can be doing my best and still have bad days. I started taking one step at a time, and that made all the difference.
2. Homesickness and Loneliness
A completely new city or a new place acts very unwelcoming and cold sometimes. The professional world out there rushes to achieve its goals and it might not embrace you with the same warm hug of your hometown. Staying away from one's family can be a hard thing to deal with for many people. We constantly miss them and this feeing can get very sickening at some point of time. Leaving old friends behind and going separate ways surprised and saddened me to a great extent. Again, we cannot deal with this very natural human emotion but we can master the art of balancing. Reach out to family and friends when you miss them but do not let the lonely feeling halt your academic progress and daily life.
3. Dealing with different types of new people
We come across different types of people in a new city or new surroundings. Some kind, others difficult. As students, we will be confronted with people hailing from different cultural backgrounds, religion, and lifestyle. It is an overwhelming experience and we learn to cope up with the aspect of rejection. For college students, their interaction with different professors can be an anxious task. One of the best things I could do to deal with his challenge was to ask for help. Accepting the fact that we're struggling to adapt to the changes is not an inhuman thing to do.
Building a good roommate relationship is a tiring task because your roommate might have a very different lifestyle than yours. Healthy communication is the key in this case.
Ask people for directions, for guidance. Learn from their experiences and build a support system.
While we should seek appropriate kinds of help from people, we should learn to not rely on them too much. Think of it as a journey wherein they would walk with you, but they would not walk for you.
4. Advanced Academics and Deadlines
The academic curriculum of high school may not be as tightly packed and advanced as that of a university. Hence, adapting to this drastic change was an overwhelming task for me. A completely new environment might stress a student and they might not be able to complete their assignments and projects within the given stipulated time. The different extracurricular activities, society tasks, and club activities can be tiring at times. I realized that I got myself committed to so many activities in order to escape loneliness that I sacrificed my health and sleep on the way. Extracurricular activities are necessary for our productivity and we can surely deal with this challenge of overburdening ourselves by maintaining a balance and making healthy study schedule for us.
5. Health problems
Another significant challenge of this phase was taking care of my health, especially when my parents are not around. One month into college and I started to notice fallen out strands of hair on my pillowcase and constant weakness. I did not find that homely feeling in the hostel meals and started resorting to junk food. I tried to train myself to treat my body well, move my body regularly and eat proper meals. A major part of being an independent individual is taking care of our mental and physical health.
We spend an unfathomable amount of energy into the quest of understanding the new environment. We feel confused from time to time and wish to quit on everything.
From what I have learned about the initial phases of college life, I can ask you to let everything happen to you, beauty and terror. No feeling is permanent.