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College is very different from high school. There aren’t teachers who follow up with you about missed homework, and your parents aren’t there to make sure you’re studying and going to bed at a reasonable hour. College freshmen face a lot of significant changes once they arrive at school, and it can be overwhelming trying to make sense of it all. For some students, they find a home in college quickly and fit in better than they did in high school. For others, it may feel like college doesn’t fit quite right. For those students, these three pieces of advice may help to make that transition a little smoother.


Join clubs

Having friends in college makes all the difference. One of the best ways to make friends is to join a club. If you join a club based around an interest of yours, you’ll be surrounded by people who share the same interest. It’s a great starting point for making conversation. Clubs also provide an excellent opportunity for leadership roles. Most clubs operate with an executive board, and members can apply for those roles and help to run the club.


Stay healthy

At college, there are tons of food options available at all hours of the day, and most of them aren’t the healthiest. While it’s easy to take advantage of the soft-serve ice cream machine and the endless supply of french fries the dining hall offers, your body will thank you if you incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet. Most colleges also offer free gym access and a variety of fitness classes. Exercise is an effective way to deal with stress and one that benefits you in the long run.


Use your resources

The majority of colleges and universities offer free counseling services to students. If you’re having trouble with the transition to college or struggling with any mental health issue, take advantage of that resource. There is no shame in speaking with someone and getting help with any problems you may be dealing with. Also, colleges have a health services building with trained medical professionals that can diagnose and treat any illness you may catch while away from home.


Accept that things may be different

Maybe you were a 4.0 student and star of the football team in high school. While those are worthy accomplishments, it doesn’t mean that they’ll carry over to your college career. Colleges have a much bigger and more diverse student body than your high school, meaning you may not stand out there as much as you did before. Classes are harder and require more self-management than they did in high school. Maybe you become an A and B student instead of an A student. And that’s okay. Getting to college is an accomplishment of its own. It’s okay to be a different person than you were in high school. Accepting that you may be a small fish in a big pond will make your college transition less stressful; you can focus on being yourself instead of being who you expect yourself to be.