Long before they leave for college, students imagine the experiences that lie ahead of them. Many are eager for freedom, but others dread the thought of leaving home. Some find that their initial enthusiasm dissipates when their experiences fall short of their expectations. Regardless of their expectations, most students encounter unanticipated challenges.

Living, working, and socializing in the same setting can pose a variety of challenges. Students who have never shared a living space may find themselves with a roommate with whom they may not have much in common. Clashing schedules and preferences can result in tension or conflict. Some students have difficulty staying focused on their academics while others have trouble putting down the books to have fun.

Although some students adjust to these changes with ease, others feel overwhelmed, sad, lonely, anxious, or worried. All of these responses are normal, though the degree to which they affect an individual’s functioning can vary widely.

Understanding how you tend to experience stress is an important step in determining how best to cope with challenges. Do you have difficulty making decisions? Do you make impulsive choices? If you find yourself struggling to function in the manner to which you are accustomed, consider contacting a mental health professional. At Georgetown Psychology Associates, we enjoy helping college students get the most out of their educational opportunities.