Freshmen! How are you feeling after your first month at Loyola? Excited? Confused? Overwhelmed? Knowing where you are in the adjustment curve can help. Want to know more? Read on…

The W-Shaped Adjustment Curve
The adjustment curve describes the fluctuations in how an individual feels as he or she adapts to a brand new environment, like college. Although the adjustment process varies by individual, the W Curve can help you anticipate and understand the feelings you’re experiencing as you adjust to college.

The Honeymoon Period

  • You feel both excitement and nervousness about college life.
  • You are filled with enthusiasm for new experiences, like joining clubs and attending classes.

Culture Shock

  • The excitement of novelty wears off as you face the realities and frustrations of college life.
  • You may feel distressed and overwhelmed as you try to adjust to the numerous changes in your life.

Initial Adjustment

  • You grow accustomed to college life and begin to feel a sense of mastery over your environment.
  • You develop social and academic routines and feel more confident in you status as a college student.

Mental Isolation

  • Home is not as familiar as it used to be but college life isn’t as comfortable as home once was.
  • You may experience a sense of isolation and feel that you don’t fully belong in either world.

Acceptance and Integration

  • As you gain history with friends and professors, you begin to feel truly connected to the college community.
  • You begin to integrate the positive experiences with the challenges and may even call college “home.”

Comments? Freshmen, where are you on the Adjustment Curve? Upperclassmen, does any of this sound familiar? Any advice on how to handle the transition?

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