Skip to Main Content
by Rob Porter | September 28, 2023


By now, the new school year is in full swing. For some students this could mean the very beginning of their college journey, which is exciting and scary at the same time. Today, we’re going to talk about some of the biggest challenges first-year college students face, along with some tips on how to overcome them. Let’s begin.

Financial Trouble

For many, college is the first real step into adulthood, and along with it comes responsibilities and…gulp…bills. The problem here is that students are required to attend class, complete assignments, and study for tests. In many cases, the future of their career may depend on their GPA. Despite all of this, college students are largely on their own during these years, and often have to find ways to feed themselves or secure funds if they wish to attend events or for other necessities.

The archetype of the poor college student exists for a reason. Some students might decide to take on a part-time job throughout college, or at least during the summer, so that they can put some money away to survive the school year. In certain situations, students may be able to rely upon their parents to send them money and supplies, but this isn’t always an option. If you’d like some tips on improving your finances during college, check out our previous blog here.

Time Management

Another huge lesson that comes along with attending college is learning how to manage your time. Life can often feel like a balancing act, so it’s best to start learning as early as you can. Between all your new responsibilities, a possible part-time job, and your social life, you’ll be juggling a whole lot of things all at once.

A great way to keep track of everything you need to do is to implement online project management software such as Wrike or Trello. These platforms allow you to plan out your days and weeks visually, and will help you save precious energy as you navigate all your everyday tasks. You could also use your smart phone to set reminders, or keep track of everything the old-fashioned way in a notebook.

Roommate Problems

If you’re going away to college, you’ll likely be dealing with at least one roommate. Now, this can go one of two ways. You could have a great experience, and you might even wind up becoming close friends with your college roommate. On the other hand, your personalities might clash, which could lead to a miserable experience if you can’t reach an understanding.

It’s important to learn to manage your expectations for situations like this. First, be mindful of your own routine, behavior, likes and dislikes. Next, keep in mind that others may not always agree with or adhere to your habits or values. If your roommate’s habits or behaviors are becoming a problem for you, try talking to them first. If you’re dealing with minor issues, do your best to focus on your school work. If there’s a more serious problem, take it up with your dorm’s resident advisor, or your school’s residential life or housing office.


This is a big one. Stress can overcome even the best of us, but if you’re proactive, you may be able to mitigate stress before it becomes a major problem. For starters, always make sure you’re getting enough rest. This can be especially tough if you have a part-time job on top of all your classes and studies, so you’ll have to be firmly regimented. There may be times where you’re forced to choose between a night out with friends and a restful night home, so be mindful of what your body is telling you.

Along with plenty of rest, do your best to eat healthy foods and devise a simple exercise routine. You don’t have to go crazy, just make sure you include at least some physical activity each day. When the weather is nice, a walk outside is perfect for reducing stress. When we’re active and well-rested, our minds and bodies are at their strongest, and we’re less likely to succumb to stress.

Feeling Homesick

Your life is about to change drastically. You might be far away from home, and you’ll be surrounded by all new people and taking on all new responsibilities. It can be very difficult to maintain a social life early on as you make these adjustments, which might lead to feelings of loneliness. In some cases, you might start to miss your old life back home.

It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to adjust to these changes. Focus on getting to class, figuring out a schedule that works for you, and taking care of yourself. Keep in touch with your family and friends back home as often as you can, and in time, you’ll become more accustomed to college life. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with other students around you either. Remember, they’re in the same boat as you, so the chances are they’d be happy to speak with you.

After some time, you’ll adjust to college life, and later on you’ll thank yourself for putting in the effort to develop important skills such as time management, dealing with stress, interacting with others, and setting expectations for yourself in various situations. Try to think of college as a long training montage for the rest of your life. Always do your best, have fun, and don’t let tough challenges bring you down.