Students coming to college face a range of emotional and academic challenges — from leaving home for the first time to adjusting to college courses.
At campuses across the country, there are people who can help make the college transition easier.
At American University, Amanda Rahimi is one of those people. The assistant director for outreach/consultation at American University’s Counseling Center spoke to National Student Leadership Conference students about her experiences getting students through the transition to college.
Rahimi noted that everyone adjusts to college differently. Homesickness is a common problem. Support groups are available for students dealing with separation anxiety or those who are grieving, Rahimi said.
Some students face anxiety about their body image, while others have a hard time adjusting with the social aspect of college life. Rahimi said students have a new set of friends and often times face new social norms.
Emily Wisner, a rising sophomore at the University of Texas, said she had to adjust to the amount of freedom she had when she arrived to college.
“For the social scene, everybody goes crazy at first and then you realize your priorities may not be right but you calm down and realize that your grades are the most important,” Wisner said.
While many students perceive that all of their peers drink alcohol, Rahimi said that more than half of AU students do not drink while living their first semester on campus.
The counseling center at AU sees students about all the above issues. In addition, students often visit the AU’s Academic Support and Access Center. This program has professionally trained academic counselors who aid the process of transitioning into college level work.
According to Nancy Sydnor-Greenberg, coordinator of the center’s learning services program, freshmen are provided with the materials they need to survive at AU during their first year of college. These materials include workshops and therapy. She notes that the students are advised by extensively trained counselors to help them with their academics.