In the good old days, it was just you and Mom—and maybe a sibling or two. You could could sleep late, go on field trips, and do school in your pajamas if you liked. On the other hand, you might have done more rigorous study than a grad student. But however you did it, studying was probably pretty solitary.
Now you’re in college. You have seven syllabi, three roommates, four classes Monday/Wednesday/Friday and three different classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Twenty-four/seven, you are plunged into a completely new environment filled with people you don’t know. There’s a flurry of “Freshman” activities to participate in. You’re expected to choose a society within the first two weeks, and teachers are laying out their expectations for the entire semester.
If you’re an introvert, all of the above may sound very daunting. Even if you’re not, the constant noise can still weigh on your nerves.
So how do you adjust?
This is something that everybody struggles with. Because so many people are telling you what to do, you will have to take the initiative to get your schedule in order, plan when to do your homework instead of going to a soccer game, etc.
Rena Stiekes, a member of the Homeschool Engagement Team under Admissions at BJU, says, “Understand that this is college. It will take work and it will be challenging. So you have to mentally and emotionally buckle down and be [purposeful] in doing the best you are capable of. . . . Read requirements and syllabi carefully to make sure you are understanding everything about a course.”
After a week or so of classes, you will figure out how long it takes you to get assignments done. Some projects you will be able to knock out quickly, and others will take multiple hours. Deadlines are not really flexible in college the way they may have been at home. Getting your work done as early as possible will help lower your stress.
Make Sure to Have Some Quiet Time
With the busyness of your new schedule, you may have a hard time hearing yourself think. Set aside some time for reflection and prayer. It’s so easy to sleep through your usual devotion time or spend it doing homework or something else. But college is one of the most decision-filled times of your life. You need to take time to stop and remember that it’s the Lord who brought you here, and it’s the Lord who will carry you through your four years.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
College is all about balance. You take time to reflect and you take time to act. You plan time to study, and you plan time to spend with friends. But college also gives you the chance to get out and try something new.
College offers you all sorts of leadership opportunities.You have so many new groups to get involved in and grow—church, society, outreach, as well as the fun extracurriculars like sports, choir and plays. And while you definitely don’t want to overload your schedule and suffer a mental collapse, you should pray about the opportunities the Lord has put in front of you. Choose wisely and grow!
Get Help Early
At BJU, you have a plethora of resources—advisors, faculty members, and friends. If you’re struggling with a class, talk to the teacher. If you need more help, go to the Academic Resource Center. The ARC can help you connect with a tutor or let you know if there are study groups available. But whatever you do, don’t wait until the end of the semester to get help. The earlier you seek help, the less stress you will have and the easier the rest of the semester will be.
So buckle down and do your best. Plan as much as you can and then commit your plans to the Lord. Ultimately, He will be your guide.