Signs You Are Doing Well or Struggling with Transition to Campus

There will be ups and downs during your transition to college life. If your transition has gone well, you’ll notice some of the following are happneing to you:

  • Your confidence is increasing, and you are developing a sense of self. Any feelings of loneliness or homesickness are decreasing, even if they haven’t completely gone away.
  • You feel like you are part of the community. You have a routine and campus is starting to feel just as much like “home” as your family home does.
  • You are practicing self-care behaviors, like getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods.
  • You find your classes and extracurricular activities energizing and engaging.
  • When you experience stress or a setback, you have a way to manage it and move on.

What if I don’t feel this yet?

It’s okay if you don’t feel this way yet, and it’s also okay if you feel this some of the time but not all the time. The first year of college can be challenging and meeting others and settling into a routine can take time.

How can I tell if I am truly not doing well?

Being mindful of signs of distress can help you identify when it’s time to seek support and recognize when a peer may be struggling too.

Remember, homesickness and loneliness are common with the transition to college. People who are lonely or homesick can experience a variety of feelings and express these feelings in multiple ways. Sadness, depression, grief, anxiety, social isolation, and moodiness are common responses to both. There are other signs of emotional distress outlined here.

You know yourself best. When thinking about your feelings and experiences, consider the following:

How frequently are you feeling the way you do?

If occasional, like once or twice a week, or less frequently, then you are probably still in the midst of your adjustment to campus. If it is happening daily, or when you are doing other things like your schoolwork or campus activities, it may be a good idea to check in with someone at your campus health or counseling center.


How strong are your feelings? 

If the intensity of your feelings are interfering with your daily activities and self-care routines, talking to someone may help.


How long have you felt this way?

While there is no set time for adjustment to college, most people feel better towards the end of their first semester. It’s a good idea to check in with someone at your campus health or counseling center if you find yourself in the midst of your second semester and your feelings have not subsided.


How have your feelings impacted your experiences on campus?

If at any point you find you are overwhelmed, are having difficulty participating in classes or connecting socially with others, lose interest in things you previously enjoyed, feel hopeless, or experiencing other significant disruptions, you should seek care.