How to deal with change

Dealing with Change
Pathways is one of the resources on Wartburg's campus available to assist students. Emily Novotny/Trumpet

After a summer of hanging out with friends and enjoying the comforts of home, first-year students have moved into their dorms with classes starting soon.

Students start college knowing that things are going to be different from high school, Vicki Edelnant , Pathways Center director, said.

As the beginning of the year progresses, it is common for some students to question whether or not they made the right decision in picking Wartburg, Edelnant said.

“In student development there is a theory called W curve. When you choose your college you are at a high, and then after maybe the first day, well for some students it can be really steep or it can be really spread out and flat ,” Edelnant said.

The W curve is different for each student.

“For some people, it is when their parents leave they go down to the bottom of that first leg of the W. For some it is after the first set of tests and they think ‘oh my gosh, I thought I was a really good student, but this is harder than I thought.’”

One change first-year students have to learn to deal with is time management.

“They are used to having their time structured for them,” Edelnant said.

One way Edelnant said to deal with this change is for students to keep some kind of regular planner. Edelnant also encourages students to include longer term planning in their weekly routine.

Another academic transition is the amount of reading students have to do. Edelnant said students have to do more reading and the level of detail they need to read at is different than what they are used to in high school.

The biggest non-academic transition most students have to deal with is living with someone.

“Many of our students have rooms of their own at home, so there are lots of day to day adjustments,” Edelnant said.

College may be the first time some students have been away from home for an extended period of time.

There are students that may not experience homesickness or only experience it for a short period of time. Then, there are those that deal with homesickness for a little bit longer, she said.

Edelnant said it is okay for a student to admit to missing home.

“I would encourage them to keep in touch, but don’t call every hour every day. Those people back home want you to be happy here and so I would encourage you to get involved,” said Edelnant.

Another big transition that college creates is making new friends.

For the past however many years students saw the same people every day and hung out with the same group of friends. Edelnant said  college brings the chance to make new friends, but students sometimes fear losing their friends back home.

While some students have the opportunity to visit friends back home during the weekend or over breaks, there are some students that live too far away to do that.

Peter Hoffman was once a first-year student from San Diego. However, Hoffman said he did not let the distance stop him from keeping in touch with friends at home.

“I’ve stayed in touch with my high school friends via Facebook and Skype. My good friends and I usually Skype once a month, and then with Facebook I just see whatever comes up on the news feed,” Hoffman said.

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