Culture shock

Embracing culture shock in college can be a great experience – The Daily Aztec

College brings so much to the lives of students: adventures, opportunities, educational experiences and, inevitably, culture shock.

All students come into contact with culture shock at some point in their college career, but most often at the beginning.

At first, you may find your new surroundings dynamic, exciting, and intriguing. You’ll meet all kinds of people, make new friends, find yourself on campus and eventually in a new city.

Ultimately, you can feel confident about your decision to go to college and embark on this new chapter of your life. However, when you are just beginning to settle into your routine and feel extremely comfortable with your current situation, culture shock can hit, and it can hit hard.

For many students, college is a foreign culture, and they often don’t equate entering college with entering a different culture. Culture is often referred to as the things we do and accept without really thinking about it.

We have expectations, values, ways of speaking, eating, behaving, relating to each other and even certain perspectives that make us who we are and different from others. Even still, we don’t give these things any conscious thought most of the time. You may have to adapt to the different notions you are used to and this adjustment will take place gradually.

Adjusting to college life is often more difficult than most students and their parents expect. Things like having a roommate for the first time, using shared bathrooms, and eating in a dining hall are all new for students coming to campus for the first time.

Students know college life is going to be different, and they’re excited, and maybe a little anxious, to begin their journey. However, it’s hard to anticipate how different life can be when you don’t know exactly what to expect.

As long as it takes, most students will eventually adjust to college life.

However, it is important to keep in mind that each student adapts to a different schedule. Some students may find the adjustment quite easy and barely realize it is happening. Other students sometimes find the process difficult, slow and even painful.

Despite the time differences in adaptation, the stages of cultural adaptation are similar for almost everyone.

Coming to a new city, with new people and new social rules can be scary. It will take time for you to adapt and assimilate to your new environment.

Moving to San Diego from Washington, DC was not only probably the biggest decision I’ve ever made, but it was the best. People thought I was daring to want to move to California and dive into a whole new culture and world, but I had an open mind about what I was going to face.

I’m no stranger to culture shock and even as a junior I still experience it from time to time.

Things as simple as jet lag, palm trees up and down every block, or 70-degree weather year-round were things I had to adjust to, and it took time.

Things were also complex. Lack of direction as to how I was spending my time or money was also a culture shock I experienced most often.

Staying involved on campus and being connected to others helped me a lot to deal with the first contact with culture shock.

Even though I still sometimes feel culture shock, I have learned to accept culture shock when it happens because I have the privilege of learning something about another culture that I did not know before. This way, I’m able to gain a new perspective, a new friend, and a new lesson that I can apply to my own repertoire.

There is no culture shock to avoid in college.

We all experience it in one form or another. You are not alone and you may find that many of your peers are dealing with it. The best thing you can do is try to move on, get involved on campus, stay in touch with others, and accept that this is your brand new life.

If you think your problems may be deeper than just culture shock, don’t hesitate to contact someone. Your family, your PR and Counseling and psychology services are here to help you navigate through the challenges you face.

Ultimately, culture shock can be a good thing. It enhances your knowledge, broadens your horizons, and exposes you to something new. It makes you a complete person that you can use to your advantage in a number of situations.

Find the light in culture shock and instead of viewing it as an adverse scenario, use it to learn more about the world, about yourself, and make the most of it.

Trinity Bland is a junior studying television, film and media. Follow her on Twitter @trinityaliciaa.