Dear Harlan: I’m in my first week of college at a big university. How did you deal with all the stuff that happens the first week of college? I feel like all the people around me are having a better time or are already acquainted to it. I’m not someone who hangs out online or spends a lot of time on my phone. I’m also worried about all the work I’ll have to do and how my work ethic from high school will have to change. I anticipate I will have to do a lot more in college. How do I work through all of this when it’s all coming at me so fast?
— Overwhelmed Freshman
Dear Overwhelmed Freshman: I didn’t deal with all the change well. I fought it. I struggled. I don’t fight change anymore though. Facing change is like riding a wave. The way to get through it is to go with the flow. Going with the flow means giving yourself time to find answers. It takes a few weeks (or months) to find a rhythm. Appreciate that you’re not supposed to feel comfortable at first. It’s normal to feel off balance. It can take a good semester or two to establish a solid foundation. Give yourself permission to feel it all and not have answers. Your job is to find things that give you a sense of comfort and pride. Find people who are welcoming and open. Do things that make you feel comfortable. Think about what you loved to do in high school. Reach out to people who can help. When it comes to other people, trust that they are going through their own challenges. No one advertises the pain and struggle. Focus on you. Know that what you’re feeling is normal and part of the process.