Beating the back-to-school blues

Learning how to adjust to college is key to starting your first year on the right foot.

September 5, 2006
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Health Matters

Coming to college for the first time from the familiar surroundings of your hometown and the close bonds of family and childhood friends can be a difficult and nerve-racking experience. When you are a freshman everything at Boston University is new, and sometimes all that newness can be overwhelming. Learning how to adjust to college is key to starting your first year on the right foot.

Freshmen should realize that making the transition from high school to college may require them to develop new skills and a new outlook, says Beth Grampetro, health and wellness educator for the Office of Residence Life.

“Classes and schedules in college are simply not the same as they are in high school, and students should be careful not to assume that the same strategies they used in high school will work here, because they might not,” she says. “Be ready to approach life a little differently!”

Grampetro’s advice for doing well academically: ask for help. She says that many students, particularly those who did well naturally in high school, are reluctant to seek help from professors or tutors when they fall behind in their classes.

“There are so many great resources at BU that exist to help students,” she says, “and taking advantage of them can only make the transition easier.”

In addition to dealing with academic challenges, there can be social hurdles as well. Without family and high school friends around, it’s easy for first year students to feel lonely when they start at BU in the fall. Grampetro advises getting to know people at your own pace. Say hello to the person sitting next to you in class or join a student group that interests you.

“Put yourself out there a bit and you’ll hopefully find some people who are in the same boat as you are,” she says.

To keep from being homesick, explore BU and Boston and find other ways to stay occupied. Take advantage of the many fun things the city offers, particularly those that are better in nice weather, she says, because unfortunately, winter will be here before we know it.

“Just doing something to get out of your room or apartment can make a huge difference — take a walk, bring a book down to the Public Garden and find a nice spot to read,” Grampetro suggests. “Above all, know that homesickness is often fleeting, so distract yourself from it and before you know it, it will pass.”

To help students get acclimated to their new lives at BU, Grampetro’s office, along with the Student Activities Office, the Howard Thurman Center, the Educational Resource Center, and the University Service Center, is sponsoring a number of educational programs for students on issues ranging from underage drinking to getting to know your roommate.

“This series of programs is designed to offer new students a place to meet other new students and people from different offices on campus who can help them in the transition,” Grampetro says. “The programs will offer helpful information, but in a conversational tone and style, so students can learn from the facilitators and one another. Hopefully, a student who attends one of these programs will make connections with peers and administrators who can help them feel at home here at BU.”

Following is a list of these programs. For more information, call 617-353-3540.

Hook up, friends with benefits . . . doesn’t anyone date anymore?
A discussion of courtship, or lack thereof, at college today

Wednesday, September 7, 7 p.m., at the Hyatt Hotel
Tuesday, October 3, 6 p.m., at Rich Hall

But drinking is part of college life! Isn’t it?
Is drinking alcohol really the only way to have fun in college? And is it always fun?

Thursday, September 7, 5 p.m., at the Hyatt Hotel
Wednesday, October 4, 7 p.m., at Shelton Hall Music Room

So little time . . .
With a new class schedule, new friends, and hundreds of new opportunities on and off campus, can you fit it all in?

Tuesday, September 12, 6:30 p.m., in the George Sherman Union, Room 320-21
Wednesday, October 11, 4 p.m., at Warren Towers Cinema Room

I thought I could handle it . . .
Feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone! Adjusting to new surroundings can be stressful. Learn when to ask for some guidance and where to get it.
Wednesday, September 13, 4 p.m., at the Wellness and Residential Education Office,
19 Deerfield St.
Thursday, October 12, 5 p.m., at the George Sherman Union, Room 320-21

So, what do you do for fun?
At a place like BU, the opportunities are endless. How do you figure our where you fit?

Monday, September 18, 6 p.m., at the Student Activities Center
Wednesday, September 20, 3 p.m., at the George Sherman Union East Balcony

The stranger beside me . . .
Have you gotten to know your roommate? Need some help communicating? Find out how to help your relationship along.

Thursday, September 28, 5 p.m., at the Howard Thurman Center
Wednesday, October 18, 4 p.m., in the Franklin Lounge at Towers

Scarlet? It just looks like red to me . . .
What is Boston University all about? Come learn about the mission and traditions of your new home.

Wednesday, September 27, 6 p.m., at Rich Hall Cinema Room
Tuesday, October 17, 3:30 p.m., at the Howard Thurman Center


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Beating the back-to-school blues