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So, you're a first year student at Florida Tech. You are probably expecting classes, exams, papers, projects, meeting new people, making new friends and having a good time. Eventually, you expect to graduate. Hopefully, you will be prepared for graduate school or the "real world". You know that Florida Tech has an excellent academic reputation, and you expect some hard work will be necessary to be successful here. As with most college settings, social life is also an important aspect of your experience and development. You probably also realize that partying can be a social blessing and an academic curse.
Florida Tech is an institution that will offer you such a wide range of academic and social opportunities that you won't have time to take advantage of all that is available. You will have to pick and choose, and thus your experience here will be, to a great extent, what you make of it. Some sound advice given by a graduate student was: "Get involved. Take advantage of the opportunities offered in and out of class. Opportunities to learn about yourself, other people, other interests, other ideas, and an expanded world are available. Take advantage of them." Beyond the classroom, you can expect to gain in day to day life skills. Doing your own laundry, grocery shopping, and day to day chores may seem mundane, but life can be pretty miserable if you don't learn how to manage them. There will be complex and difficult tasks to master as well as the mundane ones. You will learn critical thinking, how to see more than one side of an issue, how to evaluate problems, and how to make and be responsible for your own decisions.
Being on your own away from home is a big step. Parents, relatives and friends won't be so readily available. You'll be doing a lot more for yourself. It does not mean, however, that you won't need other people to help you out, but you will find your relationships becoming more mutual and interdependent. The people who cared about you at home don't suddenly just stop, but there will be adjustments to be made by both you and your folks. You may feel angry if your parents don't quickly and gracefully accept these changes in you. Try to be patient as both you and they adjust to the changes. Working with and negotiating these changes with your parents will preserve the peace and make your change more enjoyable. Knowing when to seek help is a sign of maturity. If you learn to speak up when you have problems, you will find people and resources here to help you. For example, most professors are quite approachable and want to have contact and to assist you. Get better acquainted with the residence hall staff. They are skilled and are trained to help you. There are also a vast array of offices, programs, and people in The Division of Student Affairs who are dedicated to assisting you. Use them as well as CAPS educational seminars on adjustment issues.
During your years here you will learn much about yourself. You will experiment with the way you want to look and behave, and the characteristics of your personality you wish to emphasize. During this time of personal exploration you may formulate a changed view of yourself. You will learn more about your interests and ways of integrating them with your career and life plans. It is also a time in which you will more fully develop your personal values and beliefs. Some of these may differ from those you have previously learned and may require you working out some understandings with those back home. Whatever the degree of change you choose and experience, you can be certain that the person you are now will not be the same at graduation.
Florida Tech has a diverse student population. Your roommate may have a different religious, ethnic or cultural background. You certainly will have classes with people whose life experiences have been very different from yours. You will be exposed to a wider range of personalities, beliefs, knowledge and ideas. These will aid you in gaining a greater appreciation for differences in people and thought. You may also become more aware of the role emotions play in your life; feelings may seem more intense than they have in the past. Some of your relationships will become more intimate. A major task of the undergraduate years is learning to manage your feelings and to express them appropriately. Again, this implies taking responsibility for controlling and accepting the consequences of your behavior.
If you have any questions or difficulties adjusting to college life at Florida Tech, please do not hesitate to call us at: Counseling & Psychological Services, (321) 674-8050