The Transition from the Life of a High School Student to a College Freshman

My headline and everything behind it is something new for students to understand and may take time to accept. Even when I think of the concept of being a freshman in college all over again, it doesn’t quite sink in. There are a lot of changes to go through in such a short period of time, but there’s one that nobody can quite anticipate and prepare for. 

For many students, college is the first time that they’ll truly be on their own. Making your own schedule or cooking your own food is one thing, but having to get up on your own, pay for things on your own, not knowing who to ask for help, and feeling overwhelmed needing a hug are all very common things students face. These things can be major stressors for incoming college students, and I would like to provide just a few tips to help students cope with them. 

For starters, just because you no longer live with your family, it doesn’t mean that you are no longer a part of it. If you have downtime, a moment to spare, or just a major moment of stress, call your family. In such an interconnected society, we honestly have no reason to NOT stay connected. Talking to your family can really help you get through the tough moments in general. Maybe you just need a few words of encouragement before an exam or maybe you had a rough day in class. Even though you’ve changed locations or changed your educational status, that doesn’t change your blood. Your family will always have your back, rely on them. 

And for the parents out there, your child is going to want to be independent. However, I can guarantee that they will go through some rough times, and they may not even say anything. As worrying as that may be to you, I beg you to simply remain approachable. Be someone that your child can come to in their time of vulnerability and need, but don’t try to force them to come to you. Sending care packages is a good way to make sure that your child knows they’re on your mind. A nice note and a couple snacks can go a long way. Now while calling your family is wonderful, it is not always the best solution to your problems. 

It is very easy to become homesick and want to get back as soon as possible. At my high school, the most common reason for discontinuing higher education was failing to integrate into the community at their school. 

Students, I am certainly not telling you to ignore your family, but I am asking you to spend some time getting to know the people on your campus. There are always free events and mixers to check out, and certainly plenty of clubs to join. Become a part of your community, and make this new place your home. Once you’ve done that, it truly becomes confusing to understand what you mean when you say you’re “going home.”

Parents, it is very much okay to be hesitant about your child spending more time on campus and not wanting to spend so much at home. College is just as much a time for your child to grow up as it is for you to let go. 

Look forward to the holidays you can all spend together, to catch up on how life has been treating you. But most importantly for both parents and students, communicate. Talk about what you feel and what you expect from each other during school. Communication can make anything possible. I truly hope this can make a very hectic and exciting period of your life a lot easier to handle.

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Matthew Meadors

Matthew Meadors

Matthew Meadors is a second year psychology major at Cal Poly Pomona. He attended Westchester Secondary Charter School for his freshman through junior years of high school. He then went on to attend USC Hybrid High School for his senior year. Matthew’s father made sure he found quality public schools for his children, and it resulted in them attending charter schools since kindergarten.

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