The Best of Times - The Worst of Times
While time spent at college is a fond memory and a happy experience for most, college life is not without its rough patches and problems. While each persons problems are unique to their current circumstances, I know that there are a few problems that almost all college students deal with at least once during their time at school. If you are on your way into college you might want to get a jump on how to deal with the 10 Common Problems Students Face During College. If you are reading for the sake of remembrance and posterity, I would ask that you try and throw a few good memories into the mix as you plod through the problems that once plagued you in your youth, or not so distant past.
Problem: College is challenging. For many it requires a much larger effort than high school did, and unlike most high schools, college packs about two years of classes into one. Many students take a full 15 credit semester, while other try to cram in 18 or even 21 credits. At times it seems impossible for students to stay on top of it all. Solution: College students need to realize their limits. If they can't handle 18 credit semesters, it will be worth it in the long run to slow down a little and only take 15. While the purpose of college is to study and to further the education of an individual, that doesn't mean students should study all of the time. It is important to schedule time for fun outside of study, and to take study breaks to keep the mind fresh and clear. For more information on studying see the Effective Study Habits guide.
Problem: Tuition costs are rising at alarmingly high rates. Couple that with eating out, shopping trips, gas for the car, and the price of textbooks, and you have a college student's worst nightmare. College students drop out of school each year because they cannot afford it. Others are forced to juggle full schedules with full time jobs to make ends meet. It is becoming increasingly harder for students to graduate debt-free. Solution: A new startup called BuzzFund is aiming to change the way that students pay for college. Buzzfund is a website where college students can post their personal profile, and donors can search for students to provide scholarships to. In addition, students can make less shopping trips, eat out less, carpool and share or buy used books to try to save some money.
Problem: To combat the high price of college tuition, many students must get a job. Juggling a job, 15 to 18 credits, and sometimes a club or sports team is quite a chore. Many students try to cram all of these activities into one day, and time spent sleeping suffers. Without proper rest, the student can then become susceptible to different kinds of health problems. Solution: Decide what is important. The student must prioritize and then schedule events, games, meetings, and studies accordingly. Also, a college student must be well aware of thier options when getting a job. Many times the university will offer jobs to students that are flexible and fit into the student's schedule. For more information see the College Jobs Guide.
Problem: Whether they admit it or not, most students will at one point get homesick. This is especially common for students who go to a school that is more than 3 hours from their home. Homesickness also affects freshman as it is presumably their first year away from home, and most freshman are not allowed to have a car during their first year at university. Solution: If the student lives within 3 - 4 hours from home (considered a comfortable day's drive) they can plan to visit home perhaps once every month or two. Care packages, emails, and phone calls to and from friends and family members can also greatly assist in reducing feelings of homesickness.
Problem: Most every problem on here has seemed quite dismal. These problems raise the stress levels of students. Some find relief in partying, and others (even some who party) find themselves getting depressed from their problems. Solution: If high stress levels and depression are an issue, it is best to seek professional attention. Many campuses have free counseling programs for the benefit of students. Many counselors are more than willing to listen and help students get back on track. (This doesn't mean the partying has to stop either, so long as students are partying responsibly and legally.)
6. Sickness / Health Conditions
Problem: With heightened levels of stress and lack of sleep, health problems can occur. Living in close quarters in dorms also poses potential health risks and increases a student's chances of contracting some sort of virus or other sickness. Solution: College students should eat healty and balanced meals. It is also important for students to get a good night's rest as well. Keeping hands, bathrooms, door knobs, and other shared spaces clean will also reduce the risk of students coming down with sickness. If sickness and health issues do develop, most campuses will have a nurse on standby to provide medical assistance and advice.
7. Friends / Roommates
Problem: Friends and roommates are usually good for a good time. However, they can get on each others nerves at times. Because these students are living together in close quarters and seeing each other each day, this is just not a good thing Solution: Students must remember to take some time out for themselves. If possible, students should get away from campus for a little while and go to a coffee shop or a mall and just take some time to gather their thoughts and be themselves. If conflicts do arise, it is best to get others (such as an RA or other friends) involved so that the spirit of community, unity, and peace at the college can continue to be upheld.
Problem: Partying in itself really is not a problem. Parties were designed so that attendees could have a good time. However, many of the parties that go on at colleges today have the potential to cause problems. At many parties alcohol, drugs, and sex rule the night. Alcohol can lead to drunkenness and potentially deadly situations. Having sex without taking the necessary precautions can spread disease. Solution: While parties are a good time, students should plan to enjoy them in a responsible and legal way to ensure that they do not create problems for themselves for others. A simple internet search for drunk driving will turn up plenty of pictures and news articles which really do not need to be repeated.
Problem: Relationships are good, but at times they can become a problem. There are times in every relationships where a couple will have a disagreement or issue. Disagreements between couples can distract students from their school work and add to already high stress levels. Break-ups can drive some students even further into depression. Solution: Relationship advice is hard to give. It will usually vary on a case by case basis. Couples should try and reconcile their differences. If break-ups do occur, it might be best to consult with a school counselor concerning feelings of depression.
10. Choosing a Major
Problem: Many students exert a lot of stress on choosing a major. Most of them think that their major will dictate their future career and how much money they will make at their future jobs. Solution: College majors have some importance, but they do not chisel future careers or wages in stone. Students should choose something that they like to do. If a student is unsure about what major to choose, they should choose something broad and versatile, such as a degree in communications. Many students who have gotten their Bachelor's degree in one field have progressed to get a Master's degree in a different one. Worrying about what field to major is simply not worth it. Worrying about gaining knowledge and life skills during a college education is.