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Are You Prepared for Life as a College Student in the USA

Feb 25, 2008
College can be some of the "best" years of your life but only if you are ready for it! Now these "Best Years" have to be in context with everything else that one experiences in life. However, the point here is that your years in college can provide you with many great experiences, allow you to make friends for life, often meet your partner for life, enjoy the freedom associated with being away from home, the social and sporting cultures, and combining your studies with the every day pressures of college life. At the end of it all, you will often look back at college with fond memories.

However, not all students are prepared for college life and will tell of less than enjoyable experiences. Most will tell you that they were not prepared for college life and fell into the common pitfalls of many freshmen.

College life constantly evolves and changes and you must learn to also adapt and respond to these changes. These changes could involve relationship problems that affect your studying, conflicts with certain teachers, running into unexpected financial difficulties, family problems, getting injured if you are an athlete, conflicts with fellow students, illness, loneliness and extreme environmental or weather conditions are just to name a few.

Below are just some of the "challenging" issues that you will be confronted with as a student. The list below is not there to scare or shock you, but to merely open your eyes up to the potential issues that may occur during your years at college:

You will have to live in a residence hall for the first time after leaving the comforts of living at home with the full support of your parents. Living in a college dorm can be quite challenging for most freshmen as you will have to deal with all the noise, sharing public bathrooms, hearing people's arguments and following school rules may shock you. Overall it will be a great learning experience that you will soon adjust to and even enjoy.

You will be required to follow school rules and policies with regards to living on campus and following the general rules set fourth by the school. Some of these rules include quiet hours at certain times of the day, not having members of the opposite sex in your room at certain hours, mandatory attendance at meetings and even the occasional fire drill.

You will experience the many social events that occur during the school year such as big sporting events, homecoming, dances, graduations and much more. This is where your calendar will come in handy. You will not want to miss some of these events especially home coming weekend.

There are also the challenges of living with a roommate. College rooms are notoriously small so you will need to respect your roommates space and privacy. This will also include losing the creature comforts of home such as your own personal bathroom or TV. Sharing a TV may come as a shock to you. Once again this will need to be talked about with your roommate. For most guys sport is often the common ground when deciding on what to watch.

You may also experience for the first time some of the not so pleasant life experiences of students dealing with suicides, eating disorders, relationship problems, financial troubles, trouble with drugs and binge drinking, problems with keeping grades and maintaining eligibility.

You will need to maintain a balance between your academic and social life. You will need to establish good study habits right from the start. This involves designating certain times of the day for completing papers or work.

You will need to be more independent. Your parents are no longer around to help you out with every little problem you may encounter. You will need to make the transition from living at home to living with strangers which as discussed can bring about some challenging moments. You should expect there to be more work and commitments.

There will be more stress from both study and personal issues. Once again if you maintain good study habits then you should be able to reduce your stress by staying up with all of your work. You will also be confronted with potentially harmful dangers such as drugs, violence or binge drinking. Now this is often seen in high school so you should have already been confronted with such issues. However, college campuses will often have a life of their own.

You will also establish new friendships while trying to maintain existing relationships with your former high school friends. You will need to create a balance. Your first year in college is all about balance.

Overall, college is a rewarding experience that you will hopefully look back upon with fond memories. A little planning, a little discipline and a lot time management will put you on the right track. All the best with your college career!
About the Author
David Horne is co-founder of the College Help Guide. To learn more about planning and going to college in the USA you should visit College Help Guide
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