What to Expect in the First Year

Your student will likely go through a whole range of emotions as he or she adjusts to the changes that college life brings. Here's a month-by-month description of what your student may experience or be feeling. Qué Esperar en el Primer Año de Universidad (en Español).


  • Leaving for college
  • Excitement
  • Testing new-found freedom
  • Frequent calls and visits home
  • Anxiety about roommates, professors, classes


  • Roommate problems begin to arise
  • Questioning: "Do I fit in here?" "Can I make it?"
  • Midterm Exams
  • Love relationships from home remain strong
  • Homesickness and loneliness
  • First exams


  • Midterm grades returned
  • Consequences of decision-making experienced
  • Many exams and papers due before Thanksgiving
  • Excitement and/or anxiety regarding going home for Thanksgiving
  • First series of campus-wide illness (cold, flu, etc.)


  • Anxiety over preparations for finals
  • Sadness about leaving new friendship and/or love relationships
  • Doubts about academic competency


  • "Fresh start" mentality sets in with new term
  • Satisfaction/disappointment with fall term grades
  • Homesickness
  • Relief being away from home and back at school


  • Winter blues
  • Potential alcohol and other substance abuse
  • Midterm exam stress
  • Challenges with love relationships back home


  • Finding roommate(s) for next year
  • Excitement and/or disappointment regarding Spring Break plans
  • Finals


  • Excitement with arrival of spring (and sun)
  • Questions about what they have or have not been able to accomplish during the year


  • Concern over declaring a major
  • End of term pressure
  • Concern over summer employment


  • Final exam anxiety
  • Apprehension about returning home for summer
  • Sadness over leaving new friends and/or love relationships
  • Realization of how college influences life decisions