Six (6) important adjustments First Year Students Need to Make at University or College.

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Adjustments to university, college and training institute are inevitable.  Higher learning institutions not only will expand your mind, but it may also make you a little uncomfortable, challenge your identity, and at times, make you doubt your abilities. It is hard to truly learn anything without getting messy.

This is what education does: it transforms us. For that to happen, however, means that we will need to be open to the transformation and allow the changes to occur. Flexibility, transition, and change are all words that describe what you will experience. Laurie Hazard and Stephanie Carter (2018) use the word adjustment.

Hazard and Carter (2018) believe there are six adjustment areas that first-year college students experience: academic, cultural, emotional, financial, intellectual, and social. Of course, you won’t go through these adjustments all at once or even in just the first year. Some will take time, while others may not even feel like much of a transition. Let’s look at them in brief as a way of preparing for the student life  ahead in a typical higher institution campus:

 Academic adjustment.

No surprises here. You will most likely—depending on your own academic background—be faced with the increased demands of learning in a higher learning institute. This could mean that you need to spend more time learning to learn and using those strategies to master the material.

You will take a more active role in your  learning than you  had in secondary or high school and have the ability to meet the increasing demands of change.

You  exhibit it when you:

  • Take an active role in learning
  • Attain college level learning strategies
  • Are open to feedback and change
  • Make adjustments to learning strategies as needed.

Cultural adjustment.

You also will most likely experience a cultural adjustment just by being in college because most campuses have their own language (syllabus, registrar, and office hours, for example) and customs. You may also experience a cultural adjustment because of the diversity that you will encounter.

Most likely, the people on your university, college or training institute campus will be different than the people at your high school—or at your workplace. PNG has unique and diverse cultures in the 21 provinces. So, in the institutions students and people all these provides congregate. There will also be students and staff from other nationalities and cultures. You  will interact with others of various cultures, religious beliefs, sexual identifies and orientations, ages, and abilities. You  exhibit cultural adjustment when you:

  • Accept and welcome differences in others.
  • Recognize the include of their own cultural identity
  • Seek opportunities to explore other cultures.

Emotional adjustment.

All sorts of emotions are likely be present in some form throughout your first weeks in campus and at stressful times during the semester. Knowing that you may have good days and bad—and that you can bounce back from the more stressful days—will help you find healthy ways of adjusting emotionally.

You need to be prepared for the stressors of university/college or higher learning environment and develop habits and behaviors to cope with these changes. You exhibit it when you:

  • Readily handle stressor of university or college life.
  • Develop emotional copying strategies
  • Seek support from campus resources.

When you do need help in campus, first admit that you need help and seek help from support resources available in the campus. For kind of resources in campus and how to seek up is covered in this article YOU NEED HELP IN CAMPUS-HOW DO YOU FINDI IT.

Financial adjustment.

Most students understand the investment they are making in their future by going to university or college. Even if you have all your expenses covered, there is still an adjustment to a new way of thinking about what university or college costs and how to pay for it. You may find that you think twice about spending money on entertainment or that you have improved your skills in finding discounted textbooks.

You exhibit it when you;

  • Manage money independently
  • Recognize the cost of university or college or training certificate cost.
  • Explore job and aid opportunities to help pay meet your expenses.

Intellectual adjustment.

Experiencing an intellectual “a-ha!” moment is one of the most rewarding parts of college, right up there with moving across the graduation stage with a degree in hand. Prepare to be surprised when you stumble across a fascinating subject or find that a class discussion changes your life. At the very least, through your academic work, you will learn to think differently about the world around you and your place in it.  You exhibit it when you:

  • Engage in intellectual discussions.
  • Are open to new ideas, subject areas, and career choices.

Social adjustment.

A new place often equals new people. But in campus, those new relationships can have even more meaning. Getting to know professors not only can help you learn more in your classes, but it can also help you figure out what career pathway you want to take and how to get desired internships and jobs. Learning to reduce conflicts during group work or when living with others helps build essential workplace and life skills.

You will find a shift in your relationships, finding a new peer group and handling the pressure of fitting in.  You exhibit it when you:

  • Join a club or organization
  • Form supportive healthy relationships
  • Understand the impact of peer pressure
  • Manage conflict in relationships

The above adjustments for first year students provides a succinct definition for each of the areas as well as examples of how you can demonstrate that you have adjusted. Think about what you have done so far to navigate these transitions in addition to other things you can do to make your university, college or higher learning experience a successful one.

“Experiencing an intellectual ‘a-ha!’ moment is one of the most rewarding parts of college, right up there with moving across the graduation stage with a degree in hand.”

Source: Extract from Book “College Success” which can be download for free at