Are you moving away from home to attend college? Will you be enrolling in a university located far away from mom and dad? Does the thought of being away from your family and other loved ones stress you out? If so, you are not alone. Going away to college for the first time is a major life event. And while the decision to attend school is ultimately a positive one, this doesn’t change the reality that anxiety can be a reality for many.
Part of the reason stress is part of the dynamic relates to the construct of transition. For many people, college represents a departure from the first 18-20 years of life where living at home with parents and siblings was the norm. Now, for the first time, a great deal of independence takes place and autonomy rules. The experience can be exhilarating but also overwhelming.
What follows are 10 things major causes of anxiety and stress for college freshmen according to Chicago anxiety specialist and therapist, Frank G. Moore. Frank is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice who helps students adjust to the transition of university life.
10 Causes of Anxiety and Stress for College Freshmen
- Determining a college major
- Getting used to non-negotiable, academic deadlines
- Responsibility for student loans and debt
- Learning how to budget money for the first time
- Adjusting to roommates and “dorm” life
- Learning to budget time – particularly for study
- Negotiating ongoing peer pressure to “party” and use alcohol
- Exploring sexuality through exploration
- Making new friends and saying goodbye to old ones
- Finding the right balance between hanging out with friends, study time and work (aka a job)
Going to College Means Change
If you are just beginning college or will be starting school in the near future, it is important to bear in mind that your entire world is changing. This necessarily means that stress will be part of the process. One way new college students can make this change easier is to consider working with a counselor.
“Students who seek out counseling, particularly when they are brand new to the university experience, do a lot to help themselves reach a place of emotional and physical homeostasis,” says Moore. “I encourage my clients to think of therapy as a safe place to share fears and hopes while making concrete, positive plans for the future.
Making the decision to go to college is a smart one. In today’s world, having a credential such as an undergraduate or graduate degree can impact your ability earn money and remain self-sufficient far into the future.
It is important to expect some amount of anxiety and stress as part of the experience. Working with a counselor might be just what you need to make the transition easier.