Andy Brandi blog: The transition for a college freshman

November 21, 2017 02:38 PM

Andy Brandi left his position as a USTA National Coach in the summer of 2017 to join the LSU men's tennis program, where he is now the co-head coach alongside his son, Chris. Brandi discusses the transition from living at home to the life of a college freshman in this blog for

By Andy Brandi

When you leave home to go to college, life is going to change dramatically. Things that you took for granted are now your responsibility. Things that you were comfortable with will change. So let’s talk about them.

New Coach
You have been working with a coach, at home, for a long period of time. Now you have a new face, new voice and maybe a new philosophy. Hopefully, the college coach has reached out to your coach at home to attain much-needed information to enable your college coach to be most effective: how to best communicate with you, what you have been working on, what you need to improve and, finally, how you play your best tennis. Communicate with the coach if you feel you are struggling with the transition.

Dorm or Apartment
Some schools require you to live on campus your freshman year. Living off campus will present new issues, like additional upkeep of the apartment and commute time. I suggest living on campus your first year in school. It will make the transition from home easier and increase opportunities to develop strong social bonds.

You have been living at home, in your own room, without having to share space or conveniences. Now you must be sensitive to sharing space with a stranger and getting used to their habits. You are tidy, and they are messy. You are a morning person, and they are a night owl. You are quiet, and they are loud! They borrow your stuff without asking. They have people in the room when you want privacy. They party, and you are mellow. How do you make it work? How do you live with that person and get along? Getting the right amount of sleep will be a challenge because of your roommate, school and your social life.

While living at home, all meals were prepared for you. Healthy choices were made in your favor. Now you have to figure out where to eat, how to make healthy choices, eat healthy snacks and keep up with the proper nutrition guidelines. It’s easy to fall into the junk-food syndrome by eating what is convenient. The right nutritional balance will allow you to succeed on the court and in the classroom.

At home, you might have the use of a car or someone to cart you around. Now, if do not have a car, you must depend on roommates, teammates, a bicycle or bus system to get around. Going grocery shopping, to dinner, practice or on a date will not be as easy as it was when you had a car. This is a big adjustment if your family or the school does not allow you to have a car as a freshman. Now you have to plan ahead to make it work.

Time management
This is the biggest adjustment for incoming freshmen. You have to juggle school, practice and social life to have a balanced existence in school. You have no one other than yourself to police where you need to be, when you have to study and when to go out socially. You must balance these areas to achieve success between your sport, school and social life. When one is off, the other two will suffer; they all have to be in a good place for things to go smoothly.

At home, your parents kept track of your school progress. In college, utilize your academic adviser and all the other academic resources your school provides. As a freshman, you will attend study hall for two hours, four to five days a week. Secondly, if you are having trouble in a class, or think you might, ask your adviser for a tutor. Just like your sport, it’s much more difficult to come back when you fall too far behind. Be proactive! The adviser will steer you in the right direction for you to be successful in school.

Things, such as doing laundry, are new in some cases. At home, laundry is done for you. You might want to start doing your own laundry at home for a few months to get used to doing it. Keeping your finances in place is another area that you will have to stay on top of. Managing your money will be important if you do not want to be overdrawn in your accounts or run out of money on your debit card. Learn to create lists and set reminders.

Start mentally preparing months ahead so that the transition is smooth. Good luck!