Making a Healthy Adjustment to UW Oshkosh

Stay Connected

The relationships you have with the people in your life are very important.  Those relationships make you feel more like yourself.  It is important to maintain your relationships.  The college transition is easier when you have the support of family and/or friends.

Parents and Family

It is good to remember that your parents and family are going through a transition too. Roles may be changing.  It might be helpful to talk to your family about how you plan to stay connected and how frequently you would like to be in touch or go to visit.  It might also be helpful to talk about what decisions you are ready to make on your own and what decisions you may need support from your family to make.  You may want to consider having them visit you here soon after you move on campus so they can see your new home away from home.

Existing Friends

Your old friends can be an important part of your support network.  They can be really helpful in building your new life on campus.  Keeping in touch on Facebook, Twitter, FaceTime or texting can be very helpful.  It will be important to check in with them to see how they are adjusting as well as getting support in your own adjustment.

Making New Connections

Attend Professor Office Hours

Often, the expectations that you are used to from your high school or from another university may be different from what the expectations for students is at UW Oshkosh.  It may be very helpful to check in with your professors to learn what is expected from you in your classes.

Learn the Resources on Campus

Campus has a lot to offer to help you in your adjustment.  Check out some of the resources on the campus resources page.

Making New Friends

The opportunity to make new friends is very exciting for some and a little concerning for others.  Making new friends isn’t always easy, sometimes we feel that other students seem to join groups quickly and we worry we might not fit in.  At these times, it’s good to remember that we all make friendships in different ways and most people are looking to make new friends.  Being connected to others is important, but it’s not a race.  Try not to get frustrated if it takes a few weeks or even a few months to feel more connected on campus.  Be patient, and put yourself in situations that you are most likely to meet new people: go to floor meetings, attend hall government, talk to your CA, join a group or club, check out the Student Recreation Center.

If you Tend to be a Little Shy

You are in good company, most Americans list their greatest fear as public speaking.  It is common to be nervous in new situations with people you don’t know well yet.  Here are a few little tips that might be helpful to remember.

1. Anxiety is natural. It is normal for your body and your mind to prepare for the unknown.  Anxiety is just your response to getting prepared for the opportunity to meet new people or learn something new.

2. Your anxiety is an emotional state, not your reality. We all have a host of thoughts we have that affect our mood.  We may be afraid of what others might think of us or we may be afraid of doing something that will make us look bad to others.  For example, we might think, “They are going to think I’m weird, this is not going to go well”.  These are just your fears NOT the reality. Consider challenging those negative thoughts with realistic thinking.  For example, ” There are lots of other students trying make new friends.  I will try to make a connection with another student.”

3.Try to relabel.  Remember that your body’s reaction to a new situation is just it’s way of preparing you for a new opportunity. When you normally would say “I am feeling nervous”, try saying “I am feeling excited”.  Sometimes a small change in perspective is all you need to help you feel more positive.

4. Take a deep breath.  Take a moment to take a few deep breathes and breathe away the stress.

5. Make a shift in focus.  Instead of thinking about your stress, try to focus on the moment and stay present.  Try to ask questions and get to know the other people in the room.

6. Expect some discomfort.  Try to remember that when doing something new, we generally experience some discomfort ( we will call that feeling “the opportunity for growth and change”), many  good things are worth doing even if they are hard to do at first.

7. Learn to tolerate Uncertainty. Okay, this one is a little harder, but remember, you don’t have to like uncertainty, just consider learning to tolerate it.  You can’t control everything.  Maybe not everyone will like you, but you can reach out and make friends regardless.

UW Oshkosh Counseling Center
Student Success Center, Suite 240
750 Elmwood Ave
Oshkosh, WI 54901