Higher Ed: Surviving And Succeeding During Freshman Year In College (Or Through Any Big Life Change)

Sep 8, 2019

First-year college student students often encounter tougher classes in a new environment without the familiar supports of home. In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton explore strategies for staying on course when so much is changing.

"You're going to be homesick. You're going to be miserable. You're going to be alone.... You're going to feel like there's no one on the planet that gets you."

That's how Ed describes those first few days or weeks or months of freshman year in college. While it may not be quite that extreme for everyone, heading off to college is a significant transition. Ed believes successfully navigating those changes starts with acknowledging them.

"We are fragile creatures....we are not accustomed to change," says Ed, " and I think that our basic modus operandi is we like things to be the same. So, any kind of dramatic change will cause angst and anxiety."

Ed says being open to new connections and experiences can ease some of that angst and anxiety.

"You will make new relationships and you will make new friendships," says Ed. " And they might not look the same as your old friends and your old friendships. Be open to the fact that you might be drawn to someone who you might not have been drawn to in high school."

Ed also suggests exercising some restraint in getting involved with multiple activities right away.

"There's a temptation to join everything," Ed warns. "So, [be] mindful of your time and [make] sure you have down time."

Listen to the entire episode to hear more of Ed's suggestions for navigating the major changes that come along with the first year of college (or any major changes, really) including his advice for all students of every grade level. No change with the puzzler; it's back and ready to challenge with a Roman numeral riddle.

This episode was recorded on Aug. 7, 2019.

After this episode was recorded, Dr. Ed Burger announced that he is leaving Southwestern University in Jan. 2020 to become President and Chief Executive Officer of St. David’s Foundation.

For all the Higher Ed episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.