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Strategies for Surviving First Day of Classes

14 August 2014 | 4:14 pm By:
Contact: Frank Budd, director, Counseling and Substance Abuse Services, 843.953.5640

Classes for the 2014-15 academic year begin Aug. 19, 2014.

If you’re feeling a little anxious or stressed about starting the school year with new classmates and unfamiliar professors, you’re not alone.

Frank Budd, director of Counseling and Substance Abuse Services at the College of Charleston, offers the following tips to help you get through the first day of classes and beyond.

1. Be positive
Frank Budd

Frank Budd

Although there are a multitude of concerns racing through your mind, Budd suggests focusing on the positives:

  • New opportunities to meet friends and learn more about things you have been interested in.
  • Start over with a new group, if high school was not what it should have been. Diversity is embraced – be who you are, not who you think others need you to be.
  • See your professors as a resource, not an enemy trying to crush you or overwhelm you. They love their subject matter and are very invested in helping you learn it and be successful in school. Talk to them after class and use their office hours.
  • You can do it!  Take one day at a time. See being here as a fun adventure. Change is a challenge and helps you grow as a person.
2. Keep your expectations realistic

students-laughingDream big but stay practical day by day.

  • You won’t have the deep friendships you may have had before right away, but you can begin to find people who you connect with.
  • However well you did or didn’t do in high school, college is supposed to be more challenging, and you may need to work harder, pay more attention and ask for more help than you have before.
  • Accept your feelings of nervousness or anxiety as a normal part of this exciting time in your life, not something to be avoided or as signs of impending doom.
3. Get organized

Nothing helps reduce feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed like getting organized.

  • Get or use a calendar – on your phone, in your backpack on your refrigerator or all the above.
  • Know when your exams are, when your professors’ office hours are, when you plan on preparing for papers/projects/tests and when you will schedule time for yourself.
  • Take charge and write everything down, color code it, keep yourself on top of things and accountable for how you spend your time.
4. Talk to someone

class-change-embedTake advantage of all the resources around you at the College. No one needs to feel lonely or alone.

  • Talk to your RA
  • Talk to your “Big,” if you’re in sorority or fraternity.
  • Talk to your roommate or suitemate, who likely have similar feelings and concerns.
  • Introduce yourself to someone on your floor in the dorm, in class or where you are eating. Everyone is waiting for someone else to start – be the one.
  • Talk to a Cougar Counseling Team member by calling 843.953.7411 or by visiting them on the 3rd floor of Robert Scott Small. No appointment is necessary, Monday -Thursday, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Talk to a professional in Counseling and Substance Abuse Services, 843.953.5640. The service is free, confidential and easy.

More tips and skills to manage anxiety, homesickness and stress are available on the Counseling and Substance Abuse Services website, including apps for your smartphone.

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