Preparing for College Culture Shock


For those of you who are leaving home in August for your first year of college congratulations! You are about to enter an exciting time of your life. A time of new places, new people and new experiences. Fear is natural, I certainly experienced it, but trust me when I say that “the outcome is life changing”. Looking back at my own college experience I realize that this was a time in which I got to really know me. To find out what I was made of. Too become more independent and mature. It was a shock at first, to say the least, as there were many changes all at once. A large campus, living in a small dorm room, many strangers around me, multiple distractions, freedom from parents telling me what to do, having my own schedule and responsibilities that I hadn’t had before. It took some time to adjust but I did. Looking back it would have been nice to have some tips to prepare. So here are some tips to prepare for your culture shock:

1. If you haven’t done so yet visit your college. Get as much information as you can about your college. The size of the campus, what the dorm rooms are like, how many people you will be living with, food/laundry/health services, modes of transportation and campus activities.

2. If you know who your roommate(s) are reach out and begin building a relationship. Get to know each other. Your mutual likes/dislikes. Goals for college. Make sure you are compatible.

3. Read all of the orientation material your college has. Watch any available videos. Talk to the peer mentors and listen to their experiences. Talk to alumni about their experiences. Ask questions.

4. Begin preparing yourself for how you will handle increased freedom. If discipline is an area that is weak for you start working on this skill before you leave home. Start making and accomplishing daily goals; create a schedule and stick to it; rely less on others and more on yourself for accountability.

5. Begin preparing for how you will stay focused on your college goals despite distractions. There is a lot of noise, drama and temptation on college campuses. Start planning how you will balance your college and social goals; identify the areas on campus where you can go that is less distracting for study; refine your abilities to identify the more serious students; work on saying no.

6. Begin preparing for independence. Waking up on your own, cooking, cleaning and laundry are tasks freshman have to get used to if they haven’t done it before.

If you follow these tips and work on any needed skills ahead of time, you will experience less of a culture shock when you arrive to your college campus and as a result have an easier adjustment. Again congratulations and good luck!


Mark Levinsky, LMHC  is a licensed psychotherapist, life coach and personal development instructor specializing in assisting high school students successfully transition into college. For the past five years he worked in a university based counseling center as a psychotherapist assisting clients in adjusting to and navigating through their college experience. To work with Mark as your coach for college success, call or text him at 954-547-8416 or email him at

Successful Time Management for College Students


School is ending and seniors are becoming high school graduates and making final plans for college.  Going to college can be an exciting and daunting experience.  For 13 years,  you’ve pretty much been told when to go to school, when to eat lunch, when to do extra-curricular activities, when you can work, when you have to come home, when you have to study, and the list can go on and on.  For those of you going to away to college next year, everything is going to change.  You are going to be much more in control of your calendar and schedule.  Yes the school is going to give you times for your classes but you are going to have a variety of options.  Yes your new job will give you hours, however you won’t have the constraints of early morning school hours or limited weekend hours.  Does this sound like an exciting prospect to you?  Having good time management is one of the keys to being successful in college.  How are your time management skills now?  Here are some strategies to putting good time management skills into place when you get to school.

  1. Make a list of your priorities and make sure you put enough time in your schedule for these items
    1. Figure out what your priorities are for the year. This would include things like school, work, extra-curricular activities, socializing, etc. Make sure to allot enough time to be sure you are successful in each of these areas. Classes and schoolwork are probably going to get the most time so be sure to put enough time in your life for them .
  2. Get a scheduler or use your calendar on your phone in order to put things down that are a priority in your life
    1. Some colleges still pass out free planners at the beginning of the year. Some people like using their phone. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as you have an avenue to keep track of your life in an organized manner. Update it every day and whenever needed. Taking a look at the week ahead is also a good idea.
  3. Give yourself enough free but not too much
    1. You are going to have much more free time on your hands. There are going to be blocks of time between classes or work where you can study, have lunch, meet up with friends, etc. Be sure to include downtime in your schedule. You want to make sure you have balance in your life and that includes balance in your schedule.
  4. Use to-do lists and do your best to keep on top of them
    1. To-do lists are a must to any successful person. Create a to-do list every day and work on completing the items on your list. You can also create long-term to-do lists for things that can’t be done that day. To-do lists are key in good time management.
  5. Put time every week to taking a look at where you spent your time
    1. Take time each week to look at your previous week. What did you accomplish? Where were your strong points and where were your weak points in terms of time management? From there, figure out how you can do things differently in the next week in order to be more effective.

If you put these strategies into place, the likelihood that you will do well your first year will greatly increase.  And be sure to schedule in fun things, like going to football games, socializing with friends and anything else your college has to offer.    Good luck with your time management this year!

Amanda new business

Amanda Patterson, LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping high school students transition into college.  She loves helping teenagers find their identity and learn to live the life they want.  She’s a graduate of Nova Southeastern University and a member of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority.  To work with her as your coach for college success, call or text her at 954-258-8845 or email her at

Welcome to Succeed U!

Amanda Patterson, LMHC and Mark Levinsky, LMHC sat down in Panera Bread early in 2015 and shared their ideas for where they want to take their businesses.  They both found a mutual passion and idea for creating a coaching program for future college students.  They had both seen in their practices a lot of nervous, excited, worried future college students and their parents stumble when it came to preparing for college.  Over bagels and iced tea, the Succeed U Coaching Program was born!

Succeed U is a coaching program for teenagers who are transitioning from high school to college and want to have a competitive edge over their peers.  The coaching program offers weekly one on one coaching sessions with one of our qualified coaches.  The program is designed around specific needs of the student.  Every coaching client will receive a thorough assessment through our extensive assessment questionnaires, as well as interviews with the student, parents and any other important collaborators.  Based on the results of the assessment, a tailored program will be customized just for you.  Each week you will receive a one on one coaching session, as well as resources you can use to follow up on any of the topics.  Some of the topics include: time management, peers, transitioning from home, drugs and alcohol, dating, budgeting, study habits, values and goals, problem solving, dealing with moods, healthy habits, coping skills, etc.

We started this blog in order to provide interesting and informative material around what we coach about.  Be on the lookout for weekly posts from our coaches.

Succeed U pic

Photo credit: Pinterest