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News You Can Use: Overcoming College Entrance Anxieties, Pitfalls

Academic advisers are available to help students not only with scheduling classes, but to assist with the adjustment to college life, as well. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

For an entering freshman or a transfer student from community college, the thought of acclimating to life on a college or university campus can be stressful. For many, coming to college is their first real time being away from home and having to figure out a new way of life that includes more independence and less structure.

Hoping to make the transition smoother, two University of Mississippi staff members are offering guidance to incoming students and their parents.

“Orientation is a great way for students to know which resources are available to them on campus, as well as make connections with staff members and peers,” said Rebekah Reysen, assistant director of academic support programs and adjunct assistant professor in the UM Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience. “Additionally, some departments provide free mentoring or tutoring services, which can help make the adjustment to college easier.”

According to Jeremy Roberts, learning specialist and instructor in the CSSFYE, freshmen come from a very structured background with school for X hours a day, followed by extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs and working a job after high school. Since college life isn’t built with the same structure as a high school routine, students have to figure out what will work best for them.

“Classes are varied throughout the day, with many of the food locations on campus open at different times, so they are adjusting to when to have breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Roberts said. “For those coming to campus without knowing many people, seeking out new friends can be a challenge.

“Some go from having graduated with under 200 people in their high school class to having 200 people in a lecture class.”

Transfer students usually have additional life roles to consider. These can include working a full- or part-time job, commuting and, in some cases, having a family and raising children.

“Being willing to try a new approach can make a big difference not only in grades but also in self-confidence,” Reysen said.

Both Reysen and Roberts offer the following suggestions:

Keep an open mind about your adjustment to college. Recognizing that it is OK to feel overwhelmed and that it is normal to sometimes feel discouraged about balancing things in life can help prevent students from shutting down and keeping to themselves.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions from professors or staff. Students should know that it is common to have some questions, and that most professors and staff have been in their shoes at some point themselves.

Meet with an academic adviser. Colleges and universities generally have professional advisers to meet with students not only about classes, but to assist them in adjusting to college life, as well.

If available, meet with academic support for academic consultations or for student success coaching. Staff in such programs meet with students in a one-on-one setting to assess their skills in note-taking, study skills and time management/organization, etc.

So whether it’s the first semester or later down the road in a college career, Reysen offered a few key words of motivational advice: don’t give up.

“If something isn’t working with your routine, keep an open mind and be willing to try new things,” Reysen said. “Half the challenge of college is in knowing yourself and what you are interested in, while also being willing to make mistakes and bounce back from those mistakes.

“Being willing to get back up and try a new approach can make a big difference, not only in grades but also in self-confidence.”

For those planning to attend Ole Miss, the university provides several campus resources for incoming freshmen and all students:

For additional information, contact the Office of Student Affairs at 662-915-5050.

By Edwin B. Smith

Adam Brown
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