Finishing your first semester in college is a huge accomplishment, but it can leave you thinking that the second semester is easier than it actually is. Going into your second semester of college may not be as frightening as going into your first, but that doesn’t mean it’s problem-free. Here are some problems you may encounter this spring semester and how to handle them.
- “Winter weather is crippling my mental health.”
Rain, snow, and cloudy skies can leave you feeling less motivated. It can even cause a depression called seasonal affective disorder, which disproportionately affects young women in their early twenties. If the weather is ruining your mood, try finding activities that make winter more bearable. Frequent your local coffee shop (Starbucks counts!) or try getting into foods suitable for colder weather, like Indian or Vietnamese food. You could learn the recipes at home or go out to a restaurant. You may end up liking winter more than you thought.
- “I’m ready to find a job, but a job isn’t ready to find me.”
Many freshman don’t get a job their first semester so that they can adjust to campus life. However, mass amounts of freshmen applicants and an influx of transfer students can make finding a job during the spring semester challenging. Be patient and remember that on-campus jobs aren’t everything. If possible, work off campus. Especially in college towns, you could find available jobs at the mall or at local stores that may have less competition than campus jobs. Also, don’t forget online work! Paid, remote internships are common in media/communications. If you’re a journalism student (or a student in a related major), freshman year is a great time to start freelancing. You can build up your portfolio over your college years.
- “I’ve lost touch with my first-semester friends.”
We all know what it’s like to have a friend we get along well with in class, but have yet to hang out with otherwise. Changing classes can mean not seeing someone you bonded with as often – or at all. It’s never too late to reach out to people you spoke to your first semester. A simple “hey, let’s catch up” can be enough to reignite the friendship, and it will only get easier to keep in touch from there. You may find yourself socializing less simply because your classes are more demanding.
- “My college friends aren’t nearly as great as my friends back home.”
Going home for winter break can remind you of how great your OG friends were – and can make your college friends seem lame in comparison. Considering you’ve been friends with your hometown clique for longer, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you expect the two groups to be the same. Lower your standards and try to appreciate the vibe your college friends have that your hometown friends don’t.
- “I keep forgetting to apply for summer internships!”
The hunt for summer 2017 interns is officially in full swing! If you leave your applications for April, however, you’ll be cramming job applications and finals preparation into one month – which you seriously should not do. Try to apply to at least three jobs a week (many are as simple as resume + cover letter) and develop a list of professors or former employers that you can contact for recommendation letters. If you get into a pattern of applying to numerous jobs a week, you’re more likely to have one by the semester’s end!
- “I’m having a mid-year social crisis.”
What happens when the first semester ends and you realize you have no friends? It’s common for freshman to think that the first semester is the semester to make new friends but this isn’t true. RA-enforced bonding, welcome week, and the influx of new experiences may make you think that if you didn’t make friends your freshman year, you have a problem, but there’s no timeframe for making friends. It just happens. If you feel like you’ve been too shy, put yourself out there by going to clubs. However, if you have been putting yourself out there but just don’t see results, be patient and keep doing what you’re doing. The right friends will come – and most people leave college with a small amount of friends anyway!
- “This major isn’t nearly as interesting as I thought it would be.”
Sometimes a major won’t live up to the hype – and that’s okay. Be critical of what you’re learning and how much you enjoy it. If you wait too long to address your feelings towards your classes, switching majors may cost you a timely graduation. Take notice of the classes that intrigue you and the ones you don’t think you can bear for four years. This will help you be sure about whatever major you pick.
- “I kind-of want to transfer.”
Wanting to switch schools is a normal feeling that could stem from anything from bitterness over past rejection, poor programs, or just bad vibes. However, it’s a normal desire with big consequences. To be sure on your decision, make sure you acknowledge all possible causes of wanting to switch schools. Talk to someone, such as a parent or friend, about transferring so you can get a better idea of your reasons behind it. Also, find out everything you can about the school you want to transfer to. Do not consider transferring if you’re not certain what school you would transfer to, the strength of your application, and the financial feasibility of transferring.
- “I’m not sure if I’m ready for an executive board position.”
By the end of freshman year, it’s expected for new club members to try and climb the executive ladder. However, just because this is expected doesn’t mean it’s advised. Executive boards are a huge time commitment. If you can’t guarantee your commitment to the club, don’t run for a position. Just because you don’t run for the executive board doesn’t mean you can’t show your support the following year, or run later.
- “I’m not ready to move off campus.”
Students often move off campus or into apartments for their sophomore year. However, if moving into an apartment isn’t affordable, it’s perfectly fine to remain in the dorm if your school allows it. Dorm living has plenty of perks that aren’t exclusive to freshmen – proximity to the library, classes, and food. Dorm living may be routine for freshmen, but you should still consider living in the dorms afterwards.