You enter college; it's your first day there. You don't know anyone and you don’t know anything. Unnerving? Yes. Anxiety-provoking? Yes. Several questions pop up in your mind? Yes. How do you resolve the dilemmas? How do you become a part of the predominant group in your class? Is there something that you should or shouldn’t do?
Remember who you are
First things first. Never forget who you are as an individual. You have your own history and your own traits that you bring to the group. Don’t forget what you believe in and what values you possess. Stick firm on your ground, as that is a trait, which demands respect.
Be confident of who you are, your experiences, views and opinions, as well as the activities you engage in. Being confident is required to make sure that people take you seriously and can look to you as being a person of strength and character.
Be amenable to change
Besides being firm about yourself as an individual, you need to remember that the trait of a successful person is that he or she is amenable to change. In situations that are complex and against one’s previous experience, a successful person learns from the new situation, and modifies and adapts according to the changes that present to him/her. So learn from your first experiences in college, be open to new situations, different opinions, and different ways of doing things.
Conforming to the norms
Being in a new college, with new people around you, you may feel the pressure to conform to the expectations that others may have as well as what they believe in. Not everything that others say needs to be engaged in. You need to listen, understand, assimilate and then make an informed choice. This movement to a new phase and stage of life brings with it a lot of responsibility as well and you need to make sure that the choices you make and the decisions you take are well-thought out and not just impulsive, on-the-spur-of-moment choices which you would later regret.
Take a balanced approach
Be balanced in your approach to college life. There is a lot of freedom and opportunity to do the things that you have desired for a long time. But never forget your roots. That is what will keep you grounded. You may choose to portray a particular image at college and to your new friends, but so long as you know for yourself the reality of who you are there is no issue. Don't forget that and engage in enjoyment and merry-making in this new phase of life.
The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Max Healthcare