The First Year College Slump

Transitions: Transitions are crucial stages of challenge and ultimately growth – but they are not comfortable. 

There are so many things about autumn to enjoy, but there can often be an underlying emotion of grief as we move from summer to winter. It is important however, to pay attention to times of transition. 

There is a very real thing that happens to students, particularly first year students. I’ll call it the first year slump, but it is more like the Mid-October Wallop (MOW). The MOW is happening right now!  Many of your mid-term assignments are coming due at exactly the same time as the days are getting shorter and darker.  The weather is keeping people inside more. Those last bits of “start of year” excitement is wearing off. For those living out of town, many  are feeling homesick for the familiar/predictable: cooking, pets, family. If you are a student at home due to COVID, you might find yourself snappy and frustrated. Those around you may be unaware of how much work you have due and the stress you are under.

This collision of factors can take its toll on mental health. You are not alone! You are not defective! You are experiencing the Mid-October Wallop. It is difficult and emotionally painful. Please take it easy on yourself and don’t ignore self-care in order to get one more hour of studying done. Trust me— taking an intentional walk, bath, even playing a short video game might be the break you need to come back to the books re-freshed. 

Lastly, remember to stay connected. If you are feeling like you are the only one, reach out to a good friend, even if they are at a campus across the country. Talk about the MOW. Again, you are not alone and the challenge is REAL. You will be stronger when you come out on the other side, but you don’t have to make it worse by beating yourself up or going it alone. Reach out to your school counselling staff or student support centre. If possible see someone in person and be easy on yourself. It gets better. Second term will be better and by second year you’ll be a pro. By the time you graduate you’ll be ready for a new transition, challenge and growth.