By Ingle International
Braving the world of post-secondary education means leaving the familiarity of your hometown (and bedroom!) for a whole new life. This transition might be more of a shock than you would expect. You might be surprised to learn that the ups and downs you experience will share many similarities with the 5 phases of culture shock. Not sure what I mean? The scenarios below are a few common examples of what happens after you leave the honeymoon phase:
A. The Case of the Incredibly Annoying Roommate
So you were BFFs within a week, but a couple of months in and suddenly you can’t stand the sight of your roomie. Unless your roommate has proven to be … err… evil, you may be going through the rejection phase. Give yourself a little breathing room and write a list of his or her annoying qualities. If it’s the dirty socks left lying around or late-night phone calls, a little bit of honesty never hurt anyone. In fact, it could save your friendship.
B. The Serial Partier
You’re away from home and loving the freedom! No parents, no rules, no hearing the word “no.” And what does this mean? Party, party, party. But when you wake up sick from a hangover – yet again – you realize things are getting out of control. Your grades are suffering, you’re exhausted, and you don’t like having your face in such close proximity to the toilet every weekend. It’s okay to tone it down. You’ll find that partying is more fun when you have a balance. Take some time for your favourite sports. Keep in touch with family back home and explore your new city – during daylight hours. And, if you start to study hard, you have all the more reason to party hard!
C. “My pants don’t fit me anymore!”
Whether you’ve put on the “freshman fifteen” or you’ve lost a few pounds since leaving home, you’re more than likely going to notice a change now that you aren’t eating mom and dad’s home-cooked meals anymore. If you’re upset that your pants are too tight, you may want to change your routine. Join the gym, go for a jog in the park, or walk to school instead of taking the bus. If you need to wear a belt to keep your pants up, take a look at your meals. Are you getting enough protein? Something like a peanut butter and banana sandwich for breakfast can help. Instead of snacking on a bag of chips between classes, pack yourself an apple or some carrot sticks. If you don’t have time to eat healthily, talk to your doctor about which multivitamin is right for you.
D. I used to be a straight-A student…
You’ve always worked hard and have been getting straight A’s since Kindergarten. By high school’s end, getting an A was an effortless endeavour. You’re trying a lot harder now that you’re at university, but things aren’t adding up. You’ve never seen a B in your life, but now you’re getting C’s?! What’s going on? First-year can be about “re-learning” what they taught you in high school. Forget those templated essays – your poetry prof wants creativity! And while high school math requires a mere 30 minutes of study time, now you have to spend a larger chunk of your night working out neverending formulas. Shift your thinking because, Toto, we’re not in high school anymore…
E. If only I could afford a cleaning lady…
You’re so busy making friends, partying, studying, and living, that you forget there shouldn’t be a layer of soap scum under your feet while showering. Although cleaning is nobody’s idea of fun, there’s no way around it—unless you want to be that kid in class who smells like old socks. Making a ‘to do’ list should help. Try to schedule your day so that you get a chapter of readings done while you wait for your clothes at the laundromat. Or, treat yourself to a special latte or a movie night after you’ve spent time scrubbing your toilet.
That’s Culture Shock. Or, more aptly, Campus Shock, my friend. From the “honeymoon” phase onwards, Campus Shock is an unavoidable ride experienced by everyone who first leaves home.
But, it’s not all bad. In fact, there’s a whole lot of wonderful involved. So put on your seatbelt, prepare for the ups and downs, and enjoy the ride of your life!
This article, written by Kathleen O’Hagan, is provided by Ingle International, specializing in travel insurance since 1946. Ingle International has partnered with Studentawards to provide students with the best travel health solutions for their overseas adventures. For more information, visit our partner site at http://inglestudents.com/studentawards/.