Tackling the hardships of freshman year

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With the 2013-2014 academic year coming to a close, the class of 2017 wraps up their freshman year here at Radford University. The perils of that first year are almost over.

This freshman class is the second biggest incoming class that RU has ever seen, and the campus is growing tremendously. Midterms are coming and going as the students gear up for summer vacation and break from it all. Most of the big culture shocks are over and done with now that the school year is three quarters of the way over.

Many of the challenges new students face are ones we hear about from the very beginning: the ever so horrible “freshman 15,” and the depression a lot of students face in college.

The “freshman 15” is nothing new to students, and is something many students strive to avoid. It is not only just 15 pounds; sometimes it is five, and sometimes 10, and even sometimes over 15; but nonetheless it is something that is a constant scare for new students.

There are many different reasons for gaining weight once you are away from home.

For one, you are not under the constant watch and rule of your parents anymore. If your parents limited what they bought and what you could eat, you do not have that anymore.

Eating late at night, constantly eating out, not exactly making the healthiest decisions because it is faster and cheaper, and consumption of alcohol are all reasons a lot of students gain weight.

This can be avoided by taking the time out of your day to get some simple exercise. Go on a walk or try to get to the gym, along with eating healthy and making good food judgments.

Another big hardship for new students is depression. It is not something that can necessarily be avoided like weight gain can, but it can be treated and noticed if you look out for it.

A survey conducted in 2011 by the American College Heath Association National College Health Assessment found that 30 percent of college students reported being so depressed at some points that it was difficult to function at different instances over the school year. Six percent reported having thought about suicide, while one percent reported attempting it.

Freshman Amanda Harvey explains her struggle: “It was difficult and I went home a lot,” she said.

If you or a friend is suffering from depression it is important to seek help right away. The student center offers therapists and psychiatrists for the benefit and health safety for the students.

Also, if you believe that someone is showing signs of depression, you should talk to them and help them right away.

Not everyone faces these challenges; some people adjust to the change right away and make the best out of their time away from home.

“Freshman year was amazing, I learned a lot about who I am as a person as well as adapted academic skills,” said freshman John George. “I adjusted pretty well, it was definitely a major change. Time management was the hardest thing to learn.”

There are only about four more weeks until summer vacation, and the year is coming to a close. Students can now reflect on their year, and see what they have made of it.