When we add “college student” to our already long list of roles, which often include employee, partner, and parent, the transition can be surprisingly trying. The expectations placed on a student are different than the expectations we experience in our other walks of life. This means that at the same time we are learning our coursework, we have to learn to adjust to life as a student again.
The excitement of returning to school may carry us through the first few days or weeks of classes. Sooner or later, we can start to feel some of the burdens of wearing multiple hats. Learning how to switch roles is essential for success as a student. Here are some signs that you are struggling with transitioning to your new role as a student:
Often knowing that we are supported in our decision to return to school can make all the difference in our adjustment to being a student. Some ways that we can create a support system include:
Enlist your community
Get your “significant other” involved in your education
When you are juggling our coursework, jobs, and families it is easy to let your healthy habits slide. We all know that exercise reduces stress and increase productivity. What isn’t so obvious is the toll that missing classes due to illness can have on grades.
You don’t have to be a superhero who takes on every task offered. Turn down some things now and then and you will be able to better complete the tasks you accept.
Making the transition to college student means adjusting socially, academically, and maybe even financially. This can be a difficult stage but that’s what it is, a stage. If you find that you are struggling or if you feel you would like to talk to someone about this challenging time, please contact Counseling Services.
Special Thanks UW-Oshkosh's Counseling Center for the content
Braintrack - Information about Financial Aid for Non-Traditional Students
UWRF Adult Learner Opportunities - Resources for Adult Learners
UWRF Academic Success Services - Study Skills Resources
Making the Adjustment - LSU Shreveport resources for non-traditional students
Mayo Clinic:Adjustment Disorders
Southern Wesleyan University: College adjustment Issues
Virtual Pamphlet Collection (topics compiled from top college counseling centers)
Page updated August 2012 by Mark Huttemier, MA, LPC. Personal Counselor in Student Health and Counseling at University of Wisconsin – River Falls