31 Mar Adjustment

Transitioning and adjusting to University may come with various new challenges. When adjusting, students usually go through a lot of emotions such as anger, stress, anxiety, anticipation, and excitement. Good adjustment is when individuals are in tune with themselves and their new environment or circumstances. It occurs when an individual has reached an understanding of themselves, their role, internal and external changes that have occurred, and has reached a level of acceptance of changes. However, it is important to note that adjustment can be different for everyone. This means students can and usually go through different areas of adjustment at different times. These areas consist of social, personal, emotional, and academic adjustment.  More recently, students have been faced with having to adjust and transition to online learning.

Here are some of the different stages of adjustment:

  • Shock

This happens when individuals have not processed what has happened.

  • Denial

This usually happens when individuals are still processing and trying to make sense of the changes they are going through. Denial can help decrease overwhelming emotions.

  • Anger/Depression

 Some students may feel anger towards themselves, and have to make changes they may not have been ready for.  Others may be withdrawn and less sociable which can be lonely for most students.

  • Acceptance

This is when you have come to terms with your situation and are slowly adjusting. This happens when students are no longer resisting change.

It is important to know that some students may not go through any of the stages. Adjusting to university requires individuals to be more responsible, dependable, assertive, and better equipped with self-regulation skills. It is important for individuals to reach out for social support, this helps people cope better in stressful situations.

Here are a few things to try when coping with adjustment:

  • Be patient with yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Give yourself time to adjust to new surroundings.
  • Identify issues that could hinder your transition.
  • Identify why you are struggling (emotional distress? Overwhelmed? Not knowing how to study independently?)
  • Reach out to others, by accessing peer support.
  • Take advantage of institution support services (tutors, student support on campus).
  • Stay connected to your friends and family for emotional support.
  • Engage in enjoyable activities or try new things. This may bring positive emotions
  • Laughing. Learn to laugh at yourself and find humour in the little things. This can help boost your immune system, and release negative emotions which can help you redefine stressful situations.

In conclusion…

An individual who has adjusted well is better prepared to face academic challenges that may come. In addition, adjusting well to university can ensure one’s academic success. Remember that everyone experiences and reacts differently when adjusting and transitioning to university. Some people are more reactive to stress while some are not. Therefore, what works for one person may not work for you. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope, do not be afraid to reach out to a psychologist or a professional.

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