The past few weeks I have been writing about the differences between the transitions from elementary to junior high school, and then from junior high school to high school. This final article is about the transition from high school to college. This is probably the most profound difference for a young adult to experience due to the fact that the entire playing field has changed.

Here is what I mean…

Juli Shulem

To begin with, many people go away to college, thereby moving out of the family home. For some it is their first time away from home, and often, even out of state. So that constitutes a very big life change, not only a “school” change. Another life change is that this is the first time that these same individuals must completely take care of themselves.

No more is there someone to wash your clothing, go grocery shopping and have food in the fridge and pantry, and take care of you when you are not feeling well. These responsibilities now fall on you – the student. And on top off these responsibilities, there is school and all that it entails.

Probably the biggest aspect to deal with in college is the fact that classes are lectures and all the work is homework, as little is generally done in class unless it is a science lab class or something similar. So, while it may seem like you are in school less, you will have much more work to do than you had in High School.

The transition may be a bumpy road for some, so here are some (hopefully) helpful tips:

1. Set yourself on a regular schedule for personal care tasks, such as washing your clothes, putting the clothes away once dry and folded, and cleaning your living space. For many this tends to be easiest on Sunday as there are fewer distractions. This is also a good day to go grocery shopping if you need food beyond what is provided at the dorm or if you live in a place that doesn’t provide food.

2. Schedule study blocks for your work. Study and read during these times without fail. Think of your school day as a work day, so from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. or thereabouts you are to spend those hours working. If you have night classes, then you can start a bit later in the morning if you need or wish to. Consider the work-week, just that: A Work Week.

3. Be careful to monitor yourself with regard to time wasters. You know what those are for you…for many it’s YouTube, Facebook, and other internet sites that take time you can’t afford to lose. Use those sites as more of a reward, after you have finished your work. Just like at a job, you wouldn’t be sitting online watching the latest popular video during the workday hours, so treat your school day the same.

The college years goes way beyond just an academic change, but is an entire life change as well; it is the beginning of a new phase. This is why many parents lament over their son or daughter going away to college. That generally means things will never be quite the same: for better or for worse. Usually it is for better as this is the time a person gains their individuality, learns a lot about life in general, and matures into the person they will eventually become. It’s a glorious time, and I am grateful for each life I get to coach through this amazing transition in life. Have a wonderful year freshman at all levels!

Ask a question for the column and I will address it at the appropriate time. Email questions to Coach Juli, PCC Productivity Coach, at and put “question for column” in the subject line and they will be answered right here – your name is not used.


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