How to Adjust to College using the Growth Mindset

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By Salil Uttarwar, Mental Health PHE 

It was easy to fantasize about college long before we actually got here. We looked forward to the freedoms and adventures that awaited us. Some of us longed to find a new friend group, support system, or community while others dreamed about the academic challenges we would face. We formed grand expectations of what our college experiences would be. But, often, the reality of what college became was far from what we hoped.

Enthusiasm can quickly die out when we do not quickly make friends or perform well on our first few tests. It can be difficult to navigate our expectations for college, but the best way to do so is to be open-minded and willing to change our habits. Obstacles are bountiful during the transition between high school and college, but they should not be seen as impediments to our experience. Instead, viewing them as challenges to help us grow as people and students can help turn negative experiences into positive ones. Here are some examples of difficult situations that can be viewed as growing experiences:

1. It can be hard to find new friends when you get to college. To meet new people, push yourself out of your comfort zone! Go to that social event or club meeting you never would have before. Chances are that you’ll either be surrounded by people who can help you become comfortable or by people who also ventured out to try something new that you can bond with.

2. College is hard! It is not easy to do well on your tests and assignments. To help with this, make yourself implement a detailed schedule and plan out your time accordingly. Note down the times and dates of all your tests and meetings so you don’t lose track of what you should be doing or where you should be. Apps like Google Calendar or even physical planners are great for this. This can greatly improve your time management skills.

3. Time is very limited in college; it seems like you’re always in class, in a meeting, or studying for your exams. Despite all of this, you cannot forget to take care of yourself. By properly managing your time, you can develop a schedule that allows you to rest, eat well, and exercise. Take advantage of the gym and consult one of the many resources on campus to find out about how to live healthily and mindfully. By setting time aside to take care of yourself, you’ll be happier and more energetic!