For some, going away to college or university may be the first time they find themselves navigating the world on their own; away from the support of their parents, expected to be truly independent. While this change can be exciting, it can also be overwhelming. If a student has no prior experience living on their own, it can feel as though they've been thrown into the deep end of a pool and told that they must learn to swim while they're drowning. That being said, there are instructors and lifeguards on duty, available to help if students know where to look. 

1. Inform Yourself About Student Services 

When starting out in a new environment away from home, it is important to find out about the services and resources available. If a student is feeling sick, there are usually Health Services offered or clinics nearby. If a student is suffering from anxiety, or any type of mental health issues, there are Psychiatric Services or Counsellors ready and willing to help. Career planning, financial aid, and tutoring are also readily available to those who seek them out. Admin tip: While these services are great means to help students overcome certain issues, sometimes they might feel too formal to students who are shy, or who feel as though they simply need peer support.

2. Create Connections

Creating connections with other students is another great way to form a healthy support system while away from home. Although this can be challenging for students in a completely new social environment. One way to get around this is by joining a club. Colleges and universities have an abundance of choices when it comes to clubs/orgs, making it easy for students to find one that speaks to them and allows them to meet other people with similar interests. Social media groups are also a great means to meet new people and form new connections. Admin tip: Having an online platform to host these clubs/orgs has the ability to take some of the pressure away in terms of students introducing themselves to one another and would allow more students to get involved.

3. Stay Organized

Time management is the greatest challenge that students face on campus across North America. One way to ease this pressure and in turn reduce stress is by staying organized. Staying on top of classes, assignments, social engagements, personal responsibilities etc., and scheduling the school week accordingly will make campus life so much easier in the long term. The simplest way to do this is by writing things down in a day planner (either physical or digital). The benefit of a digital calendar is being able to set reminders, preventing things from sneaking up on you last minute. Admin tip: Providing your students with an agenda, or encouraging them to adopt and use a specific digital planner, endorsed by the institution, can be a quick way to help the students who might be too overwhelmed to attain these tools themselves.