NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - If you have a student in college, you know the challenges they're dealing with this year, especially when it comes to learning and socializing.

Experts tell News4 how college students can succeed at it all.

This year is anything but typical and college students are being presented with new challenges that no one saw coming.

"It's like a challenge not to be able to shake people's hands, give them high fives or hugs," said Chris Figgures.

Chris, Caleb and Chauncey Figgures are sophomores at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and they're just figuring out this new way of life at college. And, they're identical triplets.

"We love meeting new people, so even wearing a mask is not going to stop us from meeting new people and enjoying school," said Caleb Figgures.

Doctors said a lot of students are missing out on aspects of college that happen outside of the classroom that help prepare them for the real world.

"One of the biggest things colleges do for us is train young people to become adults that can go into professional careers," said Dr. Abhinav Saxena, Medical Director for Hospital Services at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Part of that is how you interact with one another. You know, how to make friends, how to get along with people you don't agree with, how to have a roommate that doesn't keep the room exactly how you keep your room. Basic things like that, that we kind of all adjusted to in our freshman and sophomore years of college will probably be delayed."

The Figgures brothers said they are finding new ways to meet people.

"In my math class, we normally do Zoom," said Chauncey Figgures. "I'll usually meet people on the first day. We introduce ourselves through this software called Canvas."

Relationship researcher Marissa Cohen said students should also reach out to school staff to see what activities they can be a part of.

"One is reaching out to anyone at the school who is responsible for incoming students, orientation leaders, resident advisors, resident directors, even faculty advisors, because many are planning ways for students to meet one another and form those connections."

"You want to kind of focus on the positives and try to limit your thoughts about what could've been or this should've been this way," said Saxena.

The brothers said they are enjoying school, but are hopeful next semester will be a bit more normal.

"I believe at the end of the day that everything will work out, and hopefully come January, Lord's willing, that we'll see a brighter side of this," said Caleb Figgures.


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