Freshmen students speak on their difficulties adjusting to college life | News

University of Kansas freshmen have faced difficulties in adjusting from high school life to college, students said. Whether it be adjusting to life on their own, managing a college workload or learning how to schedule free time, freshmen have addressed a number of issues.

Freshman Hannah Smuckler has experienced some difficulty in the transition to college, she said. The undecided major from Overland Park is now on her own, with no one to remind her of what she needs to get done or help build her schedule, she said. It’s just her, solely responsible for herself.

“The first few days I was like ‘What am I supposed to be doing?’” Smuckler said. “You have to schedule your own everything and that’s kind of hard.”

Keeping up with her classes hasn’t been too difficult, Smuckler said. In high school, she took challenging classes to prepare her for the workload, however, adjusting her to life without her parents has been hard for her.

“This summer I would have to ask for permission to go anywhere or do anything,” Smuckler said. “Now, it’s just like I’m running on my own schedule. It’s just weird being solely responsible for myself and trying to figure stuff out.”

There are several common struggles that freshmen students face, said Paige Freeman, who previously served as the KU associate director of orientation programs in the Office of First Year Experience.

These struggles include adjusting to the overall college environment, finding a sense of community, adapting to academic work at the college level and managing financial challenges, Freeman said.

Andres Montero, an international student from Costa Rica studying business, said besides the language barrier he has faced, being independent has been a big step for him.

“Back home you depend a lot on your parents,” Montero said. “If you have to go out, you ask them first. If you need something, you ask them. Independence is a big part of what I’m still adapting to.”

Tana Cooney, an anthropology major from Omaha, Nebraska, also said leaving her parents has been a big adjustment.

“I’m really used to my parents making me dinner and helping me with just basic things,” Cooney said. “I’m all on my own now with that it’s been different.”

Besides life without parents, several freshmen said time management has been a big adjustment.

Hank Buckley, a marketing major from Overland Park, pointed out that high school schedules are much different than college schedules, especially with some of the gaps in time college has.

“There’s a lot more freedom with your time,” Buckley said. “So the adjustment is kind of just learning how to use the free time you have to do productive things because there’s so much more to do.”

Brody Gable, a music therapy major from Roca, Nebraska, said he’s still figuring out exactly when to study and when to enjoy some free time.

“In high school, I never really had to do as much,” Gable said. “I had more than a set time frame for studying and now I don’t.”

Time management and the college level workload are not the only things freshmen have struggled to adjust to. Greta Kulevsky, an undecided major from Minneapolis, said purchasing her own food and watching her eating habits has been a big change.

“I’ve never had to do that before,” Kulevsky said. “It stresses me out.”

Freeman, who now works as KU’s director of student programs, said new students often need time to understand what resources are available to them on campus.

Available resources can differ based on the student and their needs, but key resources include student housing, the Involvement and Leadership Center, Office of Multicultural Affairs and the University Academic Success Center, Freeman said.

“There are very real challenges in making that transition from high school to college,” Freeman said. “Students are learning more about themselves in a new environment and these resources can be helpful.”

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