College Survival Secrets
Story and Photos by Kayln Pearson
“I vividly remember packing 18 years of life, memories and tears into my SUV and driving seven hours northwest to Texas Tech University. Once I arrived on campus, I realized nothing could prepare me for the uncertainty of what I was about to experience,” said Cassie Graydon, a sophomore agricultural communications major from Austin, Texas.
“It was two years ago that I moved from my parents’ home to the freshman dorms. I only regret not being prepared to manage homesickness, stress, and knowing which decisions were not negotiable,” she said.
The Student Counseling Center at Texas Tech can give freshman the tools to make the most of their freshman year.
Klinton Hobbs, a staff psychologist at the Texas Tech Student Counseling Center, gives three secrets to surviving your freshman year in college.
After hearing Hobbs advice, Graydon said, “I think if I had been prepared for the stresses of college life, I would have been able to make better decisions. I don’t think I would have dropped nine of the 15 hours my parents paid for. I hope other freshman can use the advice Hobbs gives. Most importantly, know what goals are important, and don’t let the pressure of college change those goals.”
It is ok to feel homesick
“Homesickness is one of the most common adjustment problems experienced by students, particularly students who are moving away from home for the first time,” said Hobbs. “Some students experience homesickness within the first days or weeks, whereas others may find themselves feeling homesick for the first time late in the semester. Almost everyone experiences homesickness at some point in his or her life. So in a way, homesickness is a positive emotion that implies there is a place you find familiar and comforting.”
“Students should acknowledge they are feeling homesick,” Hobbs said. “To cope with homesickness, put up some pictures of home, family and friends on a bulletin board. Then, mix in photos of new friends, your favorite buildings on campus, or activities you have participated in.”
From Hobbs’ experience, making plans to travel home can also help cope with homesickness.
Learn to manage stress
“College can be stressful when you don’t manage stress correctly,” Hobbs said. “The first step to managing stress is to know what stresses you. Notice if your stress is good or bad stress, what is causing it, and recognize if you can do something to change it. Second, make a plan that can help you manage your stress. To lower stress levels, try new hobbies or sports. Be sure to explore a variety of active and quiet activities.”
“Keeping realistic goals and giving yourself rewards along the way can help you stay on track,” Hobbs said. “Eating healthy food, breaking a sweat several times a week, and figuring how much sleep your body needs is key to managing stress.”
“Most students do not know their student fees pay for eight counseling sessions per semester at the Student Counseling Center,” Hobbs said. “We offer group or one on one consultations and teach stress-management classes.”
Know what is not negotiable
“It’s ok to experiment and try new things, but also know what is not negotiable,” Hobbs said. “If academics are important, then manage your time efficiently. If you have a test tomorrow morning at 8, do you go out the night before when your friends go out? Make a plan so you will be able to say no in compromising situations.”
“A lot of times students do not attend class or turn in their work because their parents are not hounding them to do their best,” Hobbs said. “If you are not doing your best because of the decisions you are making, then re-evaluate what is important to you.”