Incoming freshmen may find themselves questioning the beginning of their college journeys amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The transition to predominantly online classes and social distancing guidelines adds an extra layer of tension for those who are already entering an entirely new world.

The three most common stressors among college students are academic stress, personal stress, and financial stress, all of which have been exaggerated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When it comes to academic stress, one may find themselves worrying about heavy course loads, maintaining a certain GPA or having a lack of motivation. Ensuring that you can manage your course load, physically and mentally, and setting realistic expectations for the semester is the first step in guaranteeing academic success.

As much as you might think that taking on an extra class to fill your free time may seem like a good idea, it’s important to ask yourself if you feel mentally capable of taking on extra work.

If you begin to feel a lack of motivation, as we all do throughout the semester, allowing time for breaks to recharge can ease the tension you might feel. If you’re stuck on an assignment or struggling with a certain course, do not hesitate to reach out and utilize APSU’s free tutoring services.

Mental health affects every aspect of our lives, as well as how we manage other stressors. For freshmen, the transition into adulthood and living independently may add to the anxiety they already have surrounding their college experience amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meal planning, budgeting and staying in touch with friends and family are all beneficial ways to make sure you complete the semester in the right state of mind.

If at any time, you experience any isolating or unusual feelings regarding school or life, please reach out to APSU’s Counseling Center and those around you for help.

Financial stress is one of the most frequent causes of college burnout. Meeting with APSU’s Financial Aid office is one of the easiest ways to make a plan for affording the cost of college. Making personal or loan repayment budgets for yourself can also put you ahead of the game in tackling financial stress.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly difficult for students to find work opportunities to support themselves. Using your personal skills and hobbies to create a source of income may be able to float you through the pandemic until employers begin hiring again.

While the future might seem blurry for incoming freshman, what’s most important is taking it one day at a time.

You may not be able to set specific academic, personal, or financial goals, but you can assess each day with an open mind and be flexible to change.