College Students With Learning Disabilities – The Freshman Year Shock

Being a college freshman is not an easy experience for any student, much less one with a learning disability. Transitioning from high school to college can be similar to moving to a foreign country where everything as you once knew it has changed. The more knowledgeable students are in advance of college life, the more they can mentally and physically prepare for the upcoming challenges.
What can you expect to be different in college? Here are six things for starters:
1. The college work and study load will be faster, heavier, and more difficult than what you were accustomed to in Special Education classes in high school. It will require more time, more organization, and a greater mental commitment.
2. Your personal relationships have to be built all over again since everyone around you is new. Take your time in selecting friends, and be understanding of the feelings of others, especially a roommates, and make a real effort to get along. College is probably you first exposure to a widely-diverse peer group. Treat others the way you expect to be treated.
3. A sudden shock for students, and sometimes the cause of their downfall, is the realization that they are now their own boss. There are no parents telling you what to do or reminding you of assignments and due dates. The responsibility now falls squarely on your shoulders.
4. You are going to face moral dilemmas that you may never have encountered before. Think carefully before engaging in behavior that could have unfavorable consequences. Let your upbringing be your moral compass in situations like these.
5. The thought that you have crossed the threshold into adult territory will suddenly dawn. You will be faced with making decisions that will affect your future career. If you are clueless about the direction you want to take, get over to the Counseling Center to take a Strong and Myers-Briggs Inventory that will help shed light on your interests and perhaps point to a specific career path.
6. Remember that even confident students experience periods of self- doubt, frustration, and sometimes loneliness at college. It is all part of the assimilation process. If these feelings do not pass after a short while, or if they become more intense, seek counseling help on campus.
College life can be overwhelming for college freshmen, but students who have even vague career goals seem to be able to weather the storms better than students who have no idea why they are there. It is normal to be intimidated, but never lose sight of your true goal; college is a means to that end.

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