Back to Campus: Quelling College-Related Anxiety

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Last August, I was terrified to start college.

On another hand, I was also excited to get to campus. Soon, I’d be taking classes in the areas of study that most interested me. My roommates and I had already become well-acquainted through the power of Facebook, which ensured I would not be entering my college years alone.

Still, I had lived in the same comfortable, yet boring, town for the majority of my life. Though my most valuable friendships were not made until high school, I had gone to class alongside the same students for years. My school wouldn’t be too far from home but I recognized that college would still bring tremendous change to my life. And, unfortunately, change can be scary.

Move-in was intimidating but soon after arriving on campus, I began to feel at home there. Surprisingly, I seemed to have more free-time than I did during high-school. I joined clubs on campus and met people with common interests. At least in regards to my own experiences thus far, I can objectively say college has treated me more kindly than high-school ever did, thanks to the advice I followed and choices I made.

Crossing the threshold between high school and college is often overhyped as being an overwhelming and sudden transition in a student’s life. We view the end of high-school as being the end of childhood and college as marking the beginning of a person’s adult life. But, college isn’t as scary as some might have you believe.

If you are a first-year student, transfer, or a returning student that hopes to adjust quickly once the school year begins, take comfort in recognizing that college isn’t anything to be afraid of. You can and will survive this transition and will come out on-top at the end of your college experience.

Just make sure to get involved on-campus, without spreading yourself too thin. There will undoubtedly be organizations that interest you so be brave, take a chance, and join one or a few. Clubs not only allow you to meet other students but can often relate to your career goals and help accentuate your major. The campus org. fair is, of course, a good way to discover what groups exist on campus. Just know you can try out a club and attend a meeting or two, without necessarily having to commit yourself to it for the remainder of the year. It’s okay if you decide a particular student organization isn’t for you.

Secondly, be prepared to leave high-school fully behind you. One of the most difficult parts of transitioning to college is the sudden separation from your high-school friends and family. Though it’s good to remain in-touch with your friends from back-home, it is important to make new acquaintances and friends at school as well. And focusing solely on your new life at college is the easiest way to adjust quickly and smoothly. Talk to your other friends, but don’t spend all of your freshmen orientation chatting on Skype with them.

Lastly, relish in the freedom that college provides. No, that doesn’t mean do whatever you want without fear of consequence. That just means that most likely, you are someone “independent” from your parents and family for the first time in your life. See this feeling of heightened self-responsibility as not a curse but a blessing.

College is not only a time for you to learn but also a chance to grow for the better. And self-growth has to happen at your own hands. View attending college as a privilege and an opportunity to reinvent yourself, by finally realizing your interests and growing your own beliefs. And even if you’re still a bit nervous, know that everyone else is going to feel the same at first.

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