Transitions For First Year Students

First year students, welcome to Luther College and to the Counseling Service’s website.  We hope you will take advantage of our services, and of the resources on this page, as you go through your college career.

 As a first year student, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by all that is new in your life.  It may help to remember that “transition” is what you are going through (and no doubt have experienced at other times of change in your life), and a period of confusion or feeling unsettled is normal.  It just LOOKS like everyone else is adjusting more easily than you.  In reality, most new students are feeling some insecurities and loneliness in the early days of the semester.

 You will probably hear the word “balance” from people trying to help you make the adjustment to college; it is an important concept in most areas of your life.  You have to find a balance between staying in touch with old friends and reaching out to make new friends.  You have to balance how much time you spend studying and how much time you spend practicing or working out, meeting people, exercising, doing the laundry, and relaxing.  Without parents to advise you, you have to figure out when to go to bed, when to study, and who you will spend time with.  Many of you have not had to share a room, and now are living with someone who you don’t know, who may be very different from you. Respecting your roommate, learning to work through conflict assertively, is another kind of balance.

 From a college counselor’s point of view, some of the best things you can do to make it through this transition in good shape have to do with tending to the basics.  For success, it is far more important to eat 3 meals a day, exercise, and to get 8 hours of sleep a night than to have a clearly mapped out life plan right now.  Remind yourself that it will take some time to make close friends, and the campus is rich with people who want to support you in the meanwhile. Luther has a significant array of people who are available to help with academic, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual adjustment.  Your RA is trained to direct you to these resources.  Don’t wait until you are totally overwhelmed to ask for help of any kind; as getting academic or personal help at the start of a concern will make it far easier to successfully resolve the concern. Students who succeed in college are generally those who ask for help early on, not those who have never had struggles.

The Counseling Service staff is here to help you learn to manage the challenges that go along with the transition to a residential college, and we hope you will take advantage of our services when you need them.