"This assignment is asking freshman students to reflect on their own college experiences with the stress-adaptation-growth model, focusing on the times they experienced stress as a result of this new environment; How would these stressful situations lead them to adapt their life and identity?"

How can I go about answering this question about my experience, as I started college during my junior year of high school?


Quick answer:

To write this essay, start by asking yourself, "What was the hardest or most unexpected thing I discovered when I first got to college?" Then, analyze how you responded to that difficulty and how you've adapted because of it.

Expert Answers

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This sounds like an interesting assignment but also a potentially overwhelming one. As a starting point, it may help to focus on one question:

When you first got to college, what was the hardest change you had to make to the way you were used to living?

For a lot of first-year college students, this might be "having 160 other people in one class" or "keeping track of the dining hall schedule so I didn't miss dinner" or "living with a roommate." Since you started college from your junior year of high school, yours might be something like "everyone else was talking about their high school graduation and I never had one." Or it might be similar to the experience of a lot of other students.

If you can't think of a single change that felt even a little difficult, ask yourself, "What was the most unexpected change I faced when I moved to college?"

The big thing this assignment asks you to do is to think about what you know now about living in a college culture that you didn't know before you got to college. What changed? How have you grown?

Another way to think about this assignment is to ask yourself, "If I could go back in time to the week before I left home for college, and I could give my younger self one piece of advice for surviving the move and starting college, what would that advice be?"

This question can help you see what you've learned about living in a college world that your life before college didn't contain or prepare you forand any of those things could be good topics for the essay.

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