College life 101

Transitioning to college life.

 

Welcome to Bucknell. Now that you’re here, is it everything you expected? “When students first transition to college life it can all be a bit overwhelming,” says Catherine O’Neil, M.D., physician at Bucknell Student Health. “And there may be challenges you hadn’t anticipated.”

According to Dr. O’Neil, it’s not uncommon for students to experience stress while they’re getting acclimated to campus life. “Classes are more demanding, there may be roommate issues, and with so many activities to choose from, it’s hard to know what to do next. Plus, for many students it’s the first time away from home.”

A little stress is natural, but if you think it’s getting out of hand, or you’re feeling anxious or depressed, there are strategies for staying on track.

“Make sure you’re eating well and getting enough sleep and exercise,” advises Dr. O’Neil. “Yoga is a great way to relax and there are classes right here on campus.”

 

How can I feel more connected?

Dr. O’Neil acknowledges that ‘alone time’ is important, especially when you feel as if you are being over stimulated or overwhelmed, but warns against isolating yourself too much. “Studies have found that feeling needed and cared about is one of the best indicators of a student’s psychological wellbeing,” she says, adding that there are service clubs on campus that reach out to communities in need. “These groups allow you to do service for others,” she says. “And feel part of a group that’s doing something that matters.”

“It’s also very important not to spend too much time on line,” she says. “Gaming can be a very seductive way of avoiding social contact and spending time on Facebook and Instagram with people back home can keep you tethered to the past.” The first few weeks of school is your time to meet new people and make real connections. It’s harder to break in later when groups have already formed.

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