The College Series: A Simple Strategy To Survive College For First Year Students

A Simple Strategy To Survive College For First Year Students

Dear New College Student:

Congrats! You have made it through that magical, frustrating experience that is high school and are headed off to college! Here is a simple strategy to survive college:

Take It Slow

Didn’t see that one coming? I know. I’m sure everyone in your life is telling you that “these will be the best years of your life.” And you’re getting a lot of advice about making friends, joining every club, going Greek, getting a job, and even how to drink as a university student. All those to-dos can leave college freshmen and transfers nearly paralyzed with overwhelm. So let’s try something different: take your time. Slow down and get tour bearings before you dive in.


Yes, relationships are an important part of how to survive college. Know that the first people you meet in college do not need to be your forever friends or your future spouse. Many friendships are built around shared experiences, and while there are many wonderful experiences during Orientation/Week of Welcome, there are often many more bonding moments throughout life. Your roommate does not need to be your sister from another mother – be aware that roommates often have their own honeymoon phase where they first are amazed by all of the wonderful similarities they have, but then quickly spiral into tense arguments when differences show up.


And, speaking of relationships, sex can wait too. Just because you haven’t yet doesn’t mean you never will. And if you’re not really interested, it’s probably a sign not to push through or to let the other person convince you. Believe me, it’s not worth saying “yes” because you can’t think of why to say “no.” Survive college with fewer hookup regrets.


When it comes to parties, don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right. You do not need to prove your worth based on how many shots you’ve taken. Not everyone drinks in college and just because you don’t drink tonight doesn’t mean you never will. Survive college without incurring underage drinking or possession of alcohol charges, as well as avoiding hospital visits for alcohol overdose.

Greek Rush

Don’t rush into Rush. Focus on getting grounded and having a positive routine before you think about Greek Life. Fraternity and sorority recruitment take up an incredible amount of time and quite an emotional toll as well. It’s easy to lose track of all that’s happening in your life when you’re headed from one event to another. Maybe that’s why they call it rush? Many universities delay rush for that reason. If you have a choice to think about rushing in winter or spring, or even your sophomore year, choose that! You will end up knowing so much more about the chapters that you choose and you will feel great about them choosing you on bid day.

Schedule It!

One other simple strategy to take it slow and survive college? Put all of the following into a schedule (you can use your calendar on your phone) and protect that schedule no matter what!

  • Time For You: Find quiet spaces where you can connect with yourself. Don’t forget who you are in this time of transition.
  • Study Time: Break your assignments and studying down into small, manageable slots most days. Don’t save long, epic cramming sessions for right before finals.
  • Office Hours: Your professors are there to help, but it’s your responsibility to show up and prove you want to learn. Office hours are a great way to demonstrate your commitment to success, as well as to get to know your faculty.
  • Nutrition: Eat slowly and mindfully. This also helps with those of you that get tummy troubles when you have stress or anxiety. Looking for more tips on how to eat mindfully – check out this blog post by Dr. Albers, a mindful eating specialist.
  • Move Your Body: Exercise is a fantastic way to break up an academic day and keep your mind and body healthy and balanced.
  • Sleep: Try to keep sleep as consistent as possible for optimal brain functioning. Go to bed at the same time most nights and try to aim for seven to nine hours of sleep!

Feeling anxious? Not sure how to make this first year work for you? Got caught in all the excitement and  now you’ve fallen behind? We are here for you! Contact us today to schedule a consultation and see if coaching or therapy is right for you!


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