The Most Common Challenges for First-Time Students

First time college student

Although starting university will definitely mean many fun adventures, it’s also a challenging time. Your whole life will have changed: where you live, the people you spend time with, and what you do during the day. The transition can be difficult in multiple ways, but some challenges are the most common of all for first-time students. Here are a few to prepare for.

1. Increase in Academic Difficulty

There’s a big jump from high school to university. It’s even likely that the grades you receive will be lower than what you were achieving in high school, at least for the first couple weeks. This is due to a combination of the material being much more difficult and the stricter requirements you need to meet. Instead of worrying that you’ll never be a top student, bear in mind that there’s a learning curve and you may need to adapt how you study to gain the grades you want.

2. Financial Responsibilities

For the first time in your life, you’ll be fully responsible for your finances. You’ll need to budget carefully to ensure you have enough for food, rent, and other essentials. This may mean you need to occasionally turn down invitations to go out or wait until later to make a purchase. Think about whether it’s worth finding a part-time job to give yourself some more spending money (and possibly to pay some of your tuition costs now).

3. Living with Roommates

Whereas you’ll have been living with family members before, you’ll find it’s a completely different experience to share a living space with strangers. If you live on campus, you’ll likely be randomly assigned a roommate and will need to share your bedroom — meaning little to no privacy. Plus, you’ll share other common areas with a large number of people. It’s more comfortable to live in off-campus housing, as you’ll usually have your own bedroom and possibly also your own bathroom. If you’d prefer to have a space entirely to yourself, you can even search for a one-bedroom apartment.

4. New and Old Friendships

For most people, heading off to university means leaving friends and family behind. You’ll be surrounded by unfamiliar faces, and it’s normal to feel lonely at first. Although it could take a while to find a group of close friends, you’ll constantly have opportunities to meet new people. Make sure to take advantage of this by attending many events and striking up conversations with your classmates.

At the same time, it may become more difficult to maintain old friendships, as both you and your old friends will be busy adjusting to a new life. However, the people you’ve known for years can be a great support system — don’t forget to reach out to them if you’re ever feeling stressed or if you just want to find out how they’re doing.

5. Mental Health

All the above challenges can put a strain on your mental health. Whereas it’s common to have periods where you feel down, you should seek help if you ever feel overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious. Your university likely has a variety of resources to support you, including affordable counsellors and academic advisors. You can also learn to cope by practicing self-care, such as by finding time to relax every day.

Make your time at university less challenging and more fun by moving into a comfortable apartment. Your best option for uOttawa off-campus housing is 1Eleven. You’ll be living just steps from campus in a large, fully-furnished suite. Plus, there are great amenities on site, including a 24-hour fitness centre, games rooms, a grocery market, and study spaces. Book a video tour to see why living here will enhance your university experience.

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