College can be quite a foreign and intimidating place. Think about it-college is the first time you are going to be far away from your parents for an extended period of time. You took quite some time to establish your identity in high school. It took some time to develop the friends that you had in high school. Also, your hometown is the place where you feel most comfortable-where most of your identity is tied up with. Now, you are in a completely new place and are meeting all sorts of people that are dealing with the displacement you’re dealing. It is quite easy to feel that you are starting from scratch again-recreating a new identity, finding out where you fit in the larger scheme of things in college, even looking for the right places that give the creature comforts you had at home. There is just a lot to think about, to take in, and to get a sense of peace about. College can easily become a confusing, hostile place. No wonder some students just go to class then go straight to their dorm room or apartment. They have their own personal cocoon. I am not sure if this is the way to go. Transition to college the right way so you don’t miss any of the awesome benefits it offers. Adjust to college the right way so your college years can be some of the best years of your life instead of wasted years spent being fearful, intimidated, and uncomfortable.
Set The Right Goals
The best way to avoid disappointment is to set your expectations properly. Many students fail to set the right expectations. Many think that college is simply a way station to where they eventually want to go. They think it is just a step you need to go through so you can find yourself somewhere better. This is simply wrong. If this is your assumption about college, you are sucking the marrow out of the fun and life-building experiences you’ll find in college. To ensure that college become an enriching rather than a limiting experience, you should set the right goals. This means, setting your goals outside of raw grades or career preparation but basing your goals around life development like: having an open mind and having an open spirit.
Have an Open Mind
Don’t look for people just like yourself in college. College is much more than the place you came from. In a very real sense, many college campuses offer many students the first chance to interact with people that come from backgrounds that are very different from theirs. College also offers opportunities for students to bridge divides, explore new ideas, form relationships, and explore different cultures. If you come into college expecting it to be just like high school, you are not only setting yourself up for disappointment, you are also cheating yourself of the opportunity to learn about different people, situations, cultures, and life in general. Having an open mind means giving yourself the permission to learn from the many new experiences you will surely come across in college. This means that instead of feeling disappointed or threatened, you will have a higher chance of seeing the good, the excitement, and the value in such experiences.
Have an Open Spirit
Having an open mind is one thing, having an open spirit is another. Most college experiences impact our physical realities and cultures. That’s fine and good but there are a lot more experiences college offers. College might be our gateway to exploring different aspects of ourselves like our spiritual sides. Remember, college is not just about training you for a future career. It can also be a gateway to helping you choose the path that can help you become a new person-a person you choose. When it comes to philosophical or spiritual paths, many people are intimidated because they prefer the path chosen by their parents. However, if you have an open spirit, you can choose to walk the path your parents laid out for you-not out of duty to your parents or tradition but because you freely chose it and fully understand it. See the difference? By keeping an open spirit, you can transform from a person bound by tradition to a person who sets his or her own path in life.