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Transitioning to College

This guide is here to help you explore common challenges in the transition from high school to college, and to provide tools to help you thrive.

Independence vs. Interdependence

Myth: Other people can do everything on their own easily. I should be able to do everything by myself without asking for help. If I ask for help, people will think I am stupid or incompetent.

  • In past schooling, many students have experienced separation from peers when accessing academic support, in resource/special education rooms and in after school help. For some, this has made asking for and accessing help feel like extra work, unfair, or lonely.
  • Many students believe the independence myth above because when we struggle, we don't usually brag about it. This makes it seem like no one struggles, when in reality, many people do, and feel like they are the only one. 

Problem: Approaching asking for help as a sign of weakness or failure makes you less likely to thrive.

  • If you avoid asking for help because you had bad experiences with it in the past or because you feel like no one else is doing it, you miss opportunities to create positive change in your life. You may struggle for longer, and more severely than you might if you reached out.

Fact: Struggle is natural and common. People need to work together to grow and support one another.

  • It took over 400,000 people working together to get a human to the moon. Work smarter, not harder. It is efficent to play to your strengths, and work with others who can offer expertise and tools to help you succeed.

   Sea otters love interdependence so much they hold hands while they sleep so they don't float away from their trusted partners!

otters holding hands

Get Your Needs Met

   In the Holistic Learning Program, we see many students struggling to parse out past experiences from present ones when accessing support. Many students have had bad experiences with teachers or care providers in the past, and feel distressed just being in our office. The Knowledge Commons and its partner programs have a proactive service model, so you can get the quality academic support you need.

   And if you're not comfortable working with staff, or want to do some work on your own, our Reflect on Educational Experience and Reflect on Disability Experience handouts can help you reflect on your past, future goals, and relationship to support services.