The midnight runs to the convenience store for more soda. The tough college mid-term. The lack of money. For those who are or who have recently been college students, these scenes feel all too familiar. They represent just some of the challenges that college students face.
However, there’s no need for these students to feel disheartened. Many other students have faced these challenges and overcome them. The trick to doing so lies in being prepared for the most common ones. Here are four common issues that students face and how some have solved them.
1. Academic Challenges
College is supposed to feel challenging, but according to Macalester College, students—especially first-timers—have trouble adjusting to their academic expectations. Some don’t come into college with the necessary study skills. Others don’t realize that college requires more study time than high school did. Still other feel unprepared for the differences in teaching styles among their professors.
Learning how to cope with these challenges can empower students. After all, college won’t be the last time that they have to juggle so many responsibilities or deal with so many different kinds of personalities. That challenging professor may just be the preparation that a student needs to deal with a demanding boss in the future.
2. Financial Hardships
Sometimes, students just don’t have enough money. That’s just the truth. Often their schedules are such that even adding a few more hours of work a week isn’t possible. Some colleges offer hardship assistance as either additional grants or loans. Students should check with their financial aid and/or student accounts office to inquire. In other cases of hardship when the institution cannot help, certain companies—like those that offer loans in El Paso, TX—can help with the shortfall until it is possible to work more.
Such companies offer loans to people who find themselves short on cash. Borrowers can get up to $1,000 at a time on a payday loan. The financially strapped student can use this money to get through until the next payday, pay off some tuition, or even to buy books. However, it’s important that students don’t seek this type of loan unless they know that they will be able to pay it off quickly.
3. Missing Family and Friends
Students come into university life excited at the prospect of being on their own for the first time. That does feel exciting! However, many find themselves homesick for the people that they’ve left behind. Everything is new, especially for students who live on campus at an out-of-state school.
This counts as one of the true rites of passage in life. There are some steps homesick students can take to help ease the pain. First, if time and location permit, it’s good to take up some old hobbies. That adds a sense of enjoyment and normalcy to an otherwise crazy new experience. Second, students can join clubs, volunteer, or get on-campus jobs to meet new people. Third, it’s perfectly okay for students to seek out their favorite comfort activities. Bowls of ice cream and mac and cheese have mended plenty of broken hearts.
4. First Generation College Student Blues
Many students today are the first in their families to attend college. It’s a dream for both these students and their parents. However, it’s filled with drawbacks, too, according to New York Times.
The problems with this are many. Much of the time, the parents of these students don’t know how to guide them through the process of applying for and then living through school. The students and their families may also feel like they no longer understand each other. Parents may feel uncomfortable at some of the requests being made of them, including providing tax returns in order to fill out financial aid forms.
The good news is that many schools have programs to help such students adjust. Students facing this predicament should participate in activities like orientation. It’s also helpful to have a sit-down with a financial aid counselor, who can explain how to fill out and file the FAFSA. Finally, first-generation students can find great solace in other like students. These like-minded students may just become the first-generation student’s new friends.
Final Thoughts on Student Stresses
College gives students a leg-up in life. It provides them with the necessary skills and education required to work in the world post-college. It’s also an opportunity to meet new friends. However, many students also find the experience daunting. Many deal with too much school work and too little money. Still, others suffer from homesickness. And others still don’t really even know how to navigate college life because they are the first in their family to attend school. The bright side is that act of getting through all these challenges makes students stronger and wiser and better prepared for life once they leave school.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. Hannah recommends getting a masters in public administration online through the University of San Francisco.