Transitioning is a favorite topic of mine. Whether you’re transitioning from high school to college, from a state of marriage to divorce, or from a career to retirement, our lives are in constant transition. Thankfully, many of these transitions take place over long periods of time. And yet many of them, especially while we are younger, take place rather quickly. Many people going through transition can feel frightened about the change they see coming. Some may even try to prevent the transition from happening. And that’s ok. That’s actually part of the transition.

We tend to fear that which we don’t know so when, for example, a child is going from high school to college they may be excited about the new freedoms, choices and responsibilities they will soon have. And yet those very things – freedoms, choices and responsibilities – can be terrifying.

The summer between high school graduation can be exhilarating or fraught with worry about the upcoming freshman year. More and more US kids are taking gap years to travel, volunteer/work or to simply put a little more space between these two milestones. Whether or not you can take a year off between high school and college, it can help to know that the transition can be managed with a few of these helpful tips.

Transitioning: From High School to College:

Success comes from failure – Don’t be afraid to try new things. In your freshman year you’re going to have a world of options at your fingertips. From classes to clubs to social events – try them out and forget about failing at them. Don’t let fear of the unknown prevent you from trying new things.

Take a time out – College life can be fast paced and hectic and that means stressful. There are so many things to do between all the studying that happens. Take some time each day for yourself. Start your day with meditation to get you in the right frame of mind, take a walk, go for a run – whatever refreshes your body and mind.

Do what you want – If you were like most high schoolers, you spent a lot of time choosing activities based on them helping you get into college. Many college students continue with that train of thought and choose classes, activities and events based on their belief that it will help them land the job or internship of their dreams. That’s all well and good, but don’t forget to explore things that interest you. Don’t forget to enjoy the process of learning, it really is a wonderful thing.

Ask for help – Whether you’re going to a small town college or one in a big city, a college campus is much larger than the halls of your high school. If you feel overwhelmed remember there are resources for you such as the local clinic, talking to a teacher or professor and even calling mom. You’re not in this alone, and it’s okay to feel scared. If you can learn to ask for help now you’ll be ahead of the game when you leave college. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Roommates – You’re probably going to have at least one roommate and you may not become best friends. That’s ok, you’ll meet plenty of people who will become close friends during your college career. You may not be besties with your roommate, but you will need to get along. Be respectful. Treat them as you would like them to treat you. Keep your area picked up and don’t borrow their things without asking first. Remember the Golden Rule.