Everyone experiences stress in different forms and at different times, but the transition to college is especially stressful to many people. This is why it is important to understand—as well as ease—this transition for students.
Many people find this time in their life to be extremely stressful. They’re living away from home and there is a greater amount of work that is demanded of them. Many students come to college and end up being lonely for the first few weeks, if not months, because they don’t know anyone.
Being lonely, feeling like you can’t do the work and even feeling inadequate can be extremely overwhelming. This can lead to poor performance in school and a development of mental illness, which can go unchecked.
In order to keep students from developing aggressive diseases—such as depression or anxiety, which are easier to treat earlier rather than later—it is imperative that we pay attention to and care for our students. This can be something as easy as a Resident Adviser asking a passing student how classes are going or if they need to talk about anything. Having bonding events in halls for students to come to, if they want to meet new people, helps in the transition to college as well as prevent the feelings of loneliness and rejection that can develop.
While helping students make the transition into college is advantageous for community building as well as their own mental health, students who feel as though they belong in their communities are less likely to drop out or transfer out and more likely to graduate and succeed. Having a feeling that the support needed in order to succeed will keep a motivated student at the university and could keep an unmotivated student from dropping out and never pursuing a degree at all. The community on the campus and the community at large is better when universities invest time and resources into ensuring that their students are making a transition into college that is smooth and as free of unnecessary bumps as possible.
While there is the preventative care that each individual can take to keep himself or herself healthy, it is worth it to universities to take care of their students and to help them make the transition into college because, at the end of the day, we’ll have a healthier campus.