As students go through the process of settling in new living spaces, making new acquaintances, adjusting to new schedules and facing new academic challenges, they may feel overwhelmed. Our colleges understand the pressures of leaving home and starting a new chapter in life – even for those students who do not physically relocate to campus housing. The independent colleges have resources on campus to help students acclimate, feel secure, develop peer connections and build a foundation for college success. It is important to note that it does not happen all at once and despite all the happy smiles of their peers about starting college, they are not alone in their fears and anxieties.
Engage in Campus Activities to Move Up Skills
Starting with “Move In Day” every college offers engagement activities to introduce students and families to college life. Everyone is encouraged to participate because it builds an understanding of what it means to be in college, how college life is structured, and why there are still rules to follow outside of home. The efforts to help students find their path does not end on Move In Day. Opportunities to be part of something greater continue to be offered over the course of a college career. Now is the time to be a little adventurous. Students should try something new, pursue interests outside the classroom, and discover the talents and skills that have not been put to use or tested before now. Challenge yourself. Surprise yourself.
A word of caution – test the water. Students do not need to jump into every activity. Time management is an important skill to develop while in college. Finding the right activities will make them more meaningful and foster stronger connections other students who share the same interests.
Connect with Faculty to Move Toward Career
One of the advantages of choosing an independent college in New Jersey, is the lower student to faculty ratio. From day one students can connect with faculty and build a relationship that helps them integrate them into campus life. Faculty members are committed advocates for the success of their students. If a student finds they are struggling, there is no need to wait to get help. Seek out a professor and spend time learning how college courses differ from high school classes. The impetus is on the student to reach out but it also means the rewards are within reach. Meet with an advisor, find a mentor, and be open to suggestions for your growth and development. It is never too early to think about the future – even if the future seems uncertain.
A word of direction – explore relationships. Faculty members offer different experiences, talents, and connections. As students progress and take more advanced courses, they will find that different professors offer unique opportunities to prepare for a career. Needs change over time and it may take time to find the right mentor. Don’t rush.
Access Campus Resources to Move With Confidence
For some the transition will be easier just like understanding algebra or Chaucer come more readily to some students. We each move at our own pace. Relax, breathe, and realize, what’s right for today may change tomorrow, and that’s okay. If it still seems that college life is a bit overwhelming, it is not what a student anticipated, or there is still a sense of not belonging, a student can find someone to talk to about it. Every campus has resources to help a student study, enhance their skills, keep you fit, and guide them through the emotional hurdles. Move In Day introduces how to access help – any time, any day. Students need to take advantage of these resources to keep college life in perspective and maintain a life balance.
A word of advice – reach out for support early. Start with the fact that an independent college chose each student to be a part of its unique community making one aspect of college success already achieved. However, there are always academic challenges – that first test, 500-word essay, or oral report. And there are other challenges when moving away from the comforts and security of home – feeling lonely, overwhelmed or lost. Any of these issues can be addressed with the help of campuses resources. Knowing when to ask for help is part of becoming an adult. Seek help when needed.
“Moving In” to new roles becomes an important part of moving forward as we go through life. Each year of college students move into a new stage of growth. Each comes with struggles but for every challenge there is an opportunity for success. Congratulations to all the students moving into college, another year of study and another step toward life and to all the families encouraging students to move in a new direction.
Thanks to Centenary University for sharing photos from Move In Day 2023.