University can most certainly be a confusing period of time for many. After all, most university students are simply just trying to find themselves through the process of growing up. This often means that students are the grey area of being in between an adult, but still youthful as someone in their late teens…That transition period can be strange for many, particularly if students are away from home in a foreign country,  most of the time living alone and experiencing a new environment. This could not only be daunting for students, but many of them might feel pressured to grow up quickly.

You are meant to feel lost

Students must first understand that growing up is indeed a strange process. Not only is a person’s identity being formed, but the idea of even deciding  what type of person one wants to become can be confusing and overwhelming. A way to cope with this is to open up to the larger community. Talk about your feelings to your loved ones, such as family and friends. Students can also turn to their lecturers or the university counsellor for support, advice or simply ask for a listening ear. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and students should keep in mind that specifically the adults have experienced this process. Students must also remember that they should not bottle everything up, for that will only make things worse. Sharing thoughts and feelings allow students to realise that they are not the only ones who feel lost.

Learning how and when to act a certain way

Another step that students can take, in order to not feel as lost, is to pick up several social skills, such as learning how to respond to their environment or when interacting in varying social situations… However, this does not mean completely discarding your “real” self. It simply means learning social cues to take in different scenarios. For instance, students must learn how to speak much more formally in a work place if they are doing an internship, and they must also know that it is okay to let loose in front of family and friends or when they are joining a club. It’s not about conforming yourself to just one identity. It’s about being flexible, and also being okay with making mistakes along the way.

Time management is key

In university, another step to helping students in becoming more mature would be time management. Timetabling is a wonderful way for students to begin in staying on top of their workload, as well as avoiding procrastination through the sense of accomplishment done through discipline. This will also help students reduce stress for they have everything already planned out. It’s just a matter of actually putting things into action. Of course, students must also know how to not pack on their schedule to the extent it is almost impossible to handle. Too high of a standard will only result in  students becoming worried, unhappy, or even depressed because they might feel like they are failing in their attempt to grow up.

No one knows how to actually “adult”

The truth is that no one knows how to actually be an “adult”. Humans are, after all, forever learning throughout their lives. Hence, students must know that they are not meant to act perfectly in terms of what is deemed suitable in specific situations. Chasing for perfection will only make students feel even more stressed out, especially since they are already handling examinations, assignments and social life. Students who always try their hardest in growing up fast tend to find themselves burning out. For example, if you’re juggling a job and university deadlines at the same time. Of course, some situations call for this multitasking to be done, but if possible, students should try to focus on just one thing at a time to not feel too overwhelmed. This will also be helpful in the long run, as students will not have to struggle in balancing their workload while meeting expectations.

Growing up takes time

Students should know that the process to adulting is a long one, so students must learn to just “be”, rather than rush through life. Know that time will give the answers, and that it is always better to take things slowly and steadily, while also learning from others and from mistakes made along the way.

Lastly, growing up is not meant to be easy, and to be in the “in-between” stage of learning how to juggle responsibilities while yearning for some fun is not wrong. University after all  is a place for students to experiment, have fun and explore what freedom really is about. The future may seem hazy at the moment, but students need to trust themselves, and believe that it will all somehow be alright at the end. Most importantly, students should stay true to themselves, regardless of society’s expectations.