Roadblocks Most College Freshmen Will Face

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For many freshmen, going to college is often an exciting and fun experience, though it is possible to suffer from common college freshman problems.

College Freshmen Problems

College is the first time many freshmen experience living away from home and a large amount of freedom. Though freshmen often enjoy this freedom, it may come with increased responsibilities and the many problems college students face.

If you are a college freshman looking for help with college problems, keep reading this article to find advice on dealing with the many common challenges college students face.

Common College Freshman Problems

There are a variety of common problems college freshmen may face when starting school. Below you’ll find a list of those common problems:

While these problems may be common among freshmen, we offer various ways to combat these challenges. By knowing ahead of time about the challenges you may face, you may be able to set yourself up to avoid these roadblocks or have coping methods readily available.


college freshman student, experiencing anxiety

As a college freshman, your newfound responsibilities may seem overwhelming, which can lead to mild to severe anxiety.

A college semester moves fast, making it easy to become overwhelmed by the homework you are assigned and the tests you must take. At the same time, you may be dealing with other issues such as roommate problems, a lack of friendships on campus, picking a professor that you will relate to, and developing a sense of self.

Anxiety may overwhelm college freshmen, making life extremely tough. Learning how to manage anxiety may be key to improving your mental health as a college freshman.

Solution: There are many ways to deal with anxiety in college. To keep track of your schedule and ensure you are turning in your assignments on time, you may want to try acquiring and using either a paper or online planner may work well.

At the same time, try to approach others and not stay isolated. Avoidance of situations may end up making problems worse. It’s a good idea to ask for help from your professors if you need to and approach other students to make friends. Also remember it’s important to practice self-care and leave time for your own mental health.


College Freshmen students attending class

The stress and anxiety you may face as a college freshman may lead to the development of depression. Developing depression is common among many freshmen. The stress from balancing both academics and your social life may lead to feeling extremely overwhelmed.

Depression can take a toll on college freshmen, hampering their ability to function as good students and isolating them from their friends. Not properly addressing depression as a college freshman may lead to you becoming withdrawn.

Solution: One thing you can do for yourself is to visit your school’s counseling services. These trained professionals may be able to help you overcome the adversity you face.

At the same time, make sure you have a support system in place. Talking to your parents and other family members to check in on your mental health may be crucial to finding comfort as a freshman. Consider pursuing hobbies or other activities that are not academically related. Whether it is going to the gym, hanging with friends, or joining clubs and other campus groups, make sure you leave enough time for yourself.

Financial Problems

College Freshman Student checking his savings

A potentially tough problem for freshmen is the reality of financial stress. This could be the first time in your life that you’re dealing with the cost of something so large as tuition and other financial responsibilities.

The extreme commonality of college students facing financial problems has led to the development of the stereotype of the broke college student. Money issues may contribute to increased anxiety and stress, and may be part of the reason why you fall behind on your schoolwork.

Solution: One solution for money troubles for college freshmen is to get a job, either on-campus or off. If you do decide to seek a job during college, make sure you are able to balance it with your academics. Remember to always put school first as you do not want to fall behind in class.

It’s also helpful to try to save money by limiting your purchases and the times you eat out. Either eating at the campus cafeteria or buying groceries and cooking for yourself may be cheaper alternatives to eating out.


College Freshman Student calling home due to homesickness

For many college freshmen, moving to college is the first time they have lived away from home and their families. This transition, though bringing with it many benefits such as increased freedom, may lead to developing homesickness.

This is not an uncommon feeling. Living away from home is a big change in your life, especially if you have never spent much time away from your family. This feeling of disconnection between the place you used to live at and where you currently live can be tough, though not impossible to overcome.

Solution: A good way for college freshmen to handle homesickness is to stay in touch with family. Holding weekly phone calls with those closest to you at home can help alleviate these feelings of missing home. If a phone call is not enough, you may want to consider planning a trip home during your breaks. Another option may be to attend an online college until you learn to balance to demands of school with your own needs.

At the same time, there are many things you can do in college to help. Try and join your college’s community by joining clubs and participating in on-campus activities. In addition, decorating your dorm room like your room at home may help you fight homesickness.

Roommate Issues

College Freshmen roommates unpacking their things

Unless your room with someone you knew beforehand, being assigned a complete stranger as your roommate is likely one of the most intimidating things a college freshmen can deal with.

After living for years with your family, living with a stranger may bring many problems due to clashes of personality or other reasons. Sharing such a small space, such as a dorm room, may lead to clashes in terms of behavior and routines. What is normal for you may not necessarily be normal for your roommate.

Solution: As your roommate inhabits the same space you do, working through any issues that arise is extremely important. Communication is key when dealing with roommate issues. You need to clearly communicate your expectations of privacy and personal property. The setting of rules for any common space you may have is also important.

Make sure you and your roommate have clear policies in place in regard to guests, sharing kitchen or other equipment, and the level of noise that’s acceptable during the night. If all else fails, reach out to your university’s housing services to see if you or your roommate can move dorms.


College Freshman Student with sleeping disorder

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do to excel academically. Unfortunately, many college freshmen fail to get a good night’s sleep, leading to increased tiredness and irritation throughout the day.

Many students start skipping class, making their grades suffer, due to lack of sleep. In addition, a lack of sleep may make you less social, meaning you may not have the energy to participate in activities or hang out with friends.

Solution: It is extremely important for a freshman in college to develop a solid sleep schedule and stick to it through the semester.

As a general rule, you want to aim for 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night in order to feel refreshed when you wake up. In order to ensure you keep to a good sleep schedule, cut down on late-night partying, especially on school days. Additionally, consuming less caffeine helps you sleep for the full 8 hours needed. Try to manage your time wisely to ensure you have enough time to sleep every night.

Social Problems

College Freshman Student sitting alone in her desk

Though you will likely make many friends in college, there may still be times when you find yourself in an interpersonal conflict with someone else.

These types of conflicts can be hard to deal with, especially if you are not used to encountering adversity of this kind. On the other hand, as a freshman, you may be intimidated to walk up and talk to people. Shyness and a lack of confidence in yourself can be very detrimental to meeting others.

Solution: If you are having an interpersonal conflict with someone, whether it is your roommate, a classmate, or just an acquaintance, it’s a good idea to try and work it out. Try to engage in conversation to find out the problem, both sides’ grievances, and if there is a possible resolution.

If your issue is lacking social skills and confidence to talk to others, then you may want to consider practicing these skills. It is fine if you do not succeed at first. Keep trying to talk to others and you may see your confidence and conversational skills increase.

Staying Healthy

College Freshman Students eating during break time

Staying in good health is important as a college freshman. Before college, when you lived with your guardians, your life was dominated by their rules. This structure helped you to live healthier as there were people there to keep you on track.

Living by yourself means you have to auto-regulate. This means taking care of yourself and your health. Decisions you previously did not have to make are now fully under your control and you have to discern the correct choice from the wrong one.

Solution: Think of staying healthy in college as a triangle with the three points being good sleep, good nutrition, and exercise.

As discussed before, getting a good night’s sleep of around 8 to 9 hours a night is essential to functioning properly and ensuring good health. At the same time, it is extremely important to eat well. The freshman 15 is a very real thing, meaning you have to select the foods that are going to give you the most nutritional value.

Lastly, exercising regularly, even if just for a short period each day, is essential to maintaining good health. Going to the gym, running, or playing sports are great ways to do physical activity each day.


Stressed out College Freshman Student due to many classwork

Stress is by far one of the largest problems college freshmen face. Moving to a new place, not knowing anyone there, and the classwork – it can all build up and create a lot of stress for new college students.

Not dealing with stress can be extremely detrimental to both your academics and social life. Constant worry about your GPA or class assignments may have a harmful effect on your coursework, reducing its quality and in turn, your grade.

By the same token, unaddressed stress may lead you to become more irritable, lashing out at others when there is no need to.

Solution: Thankfully, there are many ways college freshmen can address their stress levels. A good way is to simply talk to others. Whether family, a close confidant or your university’s counseling services, talking through your feelings is always worth it.

At the same time, you may seek to join a club or participate in fun college activities. This help alleviates stress by taking your mind momentarily off the stressors surrounding you. Regular exercise may also help relieve stress, providing you with an outlet to clear your mind and work on your physical and mental health.

Time Management

College freshman student checking time on her wristwatch

One of the largest differences between high school and college is the less-structured environment colleges foster.

Unlike high school, where you have clearly defined class periods and a very strict structure to your school day, colleges allow their students to have more freedom. This means that as a college freshman, you must be willing to manage your time correctly, as not utilizing proper time management may lead to first year college student problems.

Unless you learn to balance classes, study and homework time, and your social life, you may be constantly chased by all your responsibilities and be left with no time to accomplish them all.

Solution: Learning how to manage your time wisely is an incredibly invaluable skill that anyone can learn. A good way to manage your time is by using a planner, whether a physical or digital one. Writing down the tasks you need to accomplish in the planner, and sticking to it, may be crucial for you to learn how to organize your time.

Though you may not have needed to schedule your life in high school, the freedom that college gives students, and the added responsibility that comes with the freedom, may require you to now.

Is Going to College Worth it?

College students working with their respective groups

Yes, going to college is worth it for many students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for bachelor’s degree holders across all professions is $78,580 as compared to the median annual wage for high school graduates with no college degree, which is $38,290.

In addition, college is a great place to meet people, for friendships and romantic relationships but also for networking and career purposes. Many colleges often hold career fairs when they invite employers to meet with students. These types of events are often invaluable for advancing your professional goals.

Think carefully about going to college. It is a big commitment, both financially and time-wise and you do not want to be stuck with debt and wasted time.

Finally, if you are currently enlisted in the military or even interested in enlisting, it may be worth noting that there are military friendly online colleges that may be of interest to you.

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Leon Aristeguieta
WRITTEN BY Leon Aristeguieta

Leon is currently pursuing an M.A. in History from Florida Atlantic University. He holds both a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Leon's research interests include the Cold War in Latin America and US-Latin American relations.