Adjusting to IU

Are you a transfer student looking for some help adjusting to IU? Or maybe a returning student but still adjusting to college? Here are some tips to help you SPRING into the New Year.

  1. Be proactive: Unlike high school, in college you have to take more initiative to get involved and find your fun. Look for upcoming shows, events, or organizations you might want to join. Mark it in your calendar and find friends to go with. The more you have to look forward to, the happier you will feel. It is going to be more of a constant effort on your part. We tend to lose momentum after the first few weeks, but remember, it’s never too late to get started.
  1. Fill up your free time: Don’t spend all of your time on social media or Netflix. It may be fun at first, but this ultimately tends to bring us down. Get out there! Join an intramural sports team, volunteer, or find a group you’d like to join. And if you can’t find one, make one!
  1. Put yourself out there: Leave your dorm or apartment every day. If you’re a transfer student, try to live on campus or as close to it as possible to find things to be involved in. And if you’re living off campus, try to go to campus every day. The more you get out there, the more likely you are to find things that you want to try out.
  1. Try something new: There are lots of clubs to join, and fun new places to eat. Challenge yourself to try something new. Take a different route to class. Make new friends. Go to a show. The more you successfully challenge yourself, the better you will feel, knowing you overcame your fears.
  1. Get a job: While school is still your first priority, often times working helps us be more productive. It helps you stay on top of your schedule and you’ll have a little extra spending cash too. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people and find your place here. There are plenty of places to work both off-campus and on–all you have to do is look!
  1. Try not to compare: It’s easy to compare yourself to others, thinking everyone else is having fun except you. If you’re struggling, that’s okay, and it’s perfectly normal. Remember, just because people appear like they are adjusting better, doesn’t mean they actually are. If you’re feeling this way, try and open up to others, and think about changing your expectations. And transfer students–do your best to come to IU open-minded. Don’t compare this school to your old one, instead, focus on creating a life here that works best for you.
  1. Give it time: It is perfectly okay not to find your stride within the first few weeks! It takes many students a semester, a year, or sometimes longer. Try to not get discouraged, or use it as your motivation to get more involved. There will be tough days, but it does get easier. Not everyone has found their friend group already, there are lots of people just waiting for a friend like you!
  1. Practice gratitude: We know this one isn’t easy, but we also know focusing on the positives helps us feel better. We can still acknowledge things are hard (and at times they definitely are), but try and think of three things that went well today, or maybe three things that you are grateful for. Better yet, write these down so you have something to look back on when you’re feeling a little down!
  1. Practice self-care and coping skills: What is self-care? Self-care is something you do, every day, ideally for at least 30 minutes, that is just “you” time. This could be anything that is restorative and helps prevent stress. Coping skills are what we do after we feel stressed. So what are some things you can do? Practice meditation, go for a run or walk, read a favorite book, or chat with a friend. You can also go to the gym, journal, create art, and plenty more. There are hundreds of self-care/coping skills activities; just find the ones that work best for you.
  1. Look for support: You aren’t alone in this, and there are lots of people out there ready to help. Remember, you are not a burden, and the more you reach out, the closer you’ll feel to others. Talk to your family or friends, open up to that classmate you always sit by, or talk to your RA. Meet with your professors or advisors, or reach out to a Crimson Corps member ( You can check out the IU Health Center’s many services. We offer wellness coaching (charge it to your bursar!), counseling (two free sessions per semester for those who have paid the health fee!), free workshops and events, and much more!

Looking for adjustment help beyond this post? Join our first spring Web Wednesdays session on Adjusting to IU on January 18 at 2:30 p.m. To get started, go to or download the Zoom cloud meetings app. Enter the ID number 541-962-473 and you’re a go!


Thanks for reading. Welcome new students, and welcome back returning ones! Have a fantastic semester!

Kellen Fox, LMHC

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