College is now in full swing with freshmen all over the country finally settling into their new homes. It’s hard to imagine that only a short time ago all those freshmen stuck in a limbo between senioritis and college were apprehensively approaching a void of unknown and endless possibility. Though everyone has different experiences, strengths and personalities, I’m sure every one of those freshmen was nervous about some aspect of college, because - frankly - starting college is scary. Were you worried that you wouldn’t make friends right off the bat and eat alone in the dining hall? Or did you stress out over how hard academics would be? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here are 10 honest accounts of freshmen who opened up to Fresh U about their college fears.
On Leaving Things Behind
Most college students don’t know many people going to the same school as them. Here’s what they had to say about leaving everything they knew behind.
“I was not so much afraid of the new things of starting college; the experiences I would have, the friends I would make, the exciting opportunities or the clubs I would join. . .I was more afraid of everything I was leaving behind; the friends that I had, the teachers and mentors I befriended, the communities I had created and been a part of. That was the scariest thing for me.” – Prashanth R. (University of California, Los Angeles)
“I guess I was nervous about starting over. Because high school is one of those places where you undergo the most change in terms of maturity and personality and in just four years I had to do it over again. None of my friends went to college with me. So it was like a new start.” — YoungJun Y. (New York University)
On Making Friends
Not being able to make friends is probably one of the most common fears for freshmen. Keep in mind that everyone around you is equally as anxious about trying to find the right friends and making a good impression. As long as you stay true to yourself, you will find the right group in due time!
“I was mostly nervous about just how blank of a slate I had. I knew no one else going to my college, so I had this amazing opportunity to start over, to become whoever I wanted. Eventually, that opportunity just turned into a lot of pressure to become a perfect person and I became terrified that I was going to somehow ruin my new blank slate or not be the person I was supposed to be.” — Maggie H. (Coe College)
"More than anything, I was nervous about making friends. . .I'm extroverted at times and introverted at times, and I have a lot of weird interests. I'm by no means a natural in social situations. That said, Rice has been really accepting, so I'm not nearly as nervous anymore." — Phillip H. (Rice University)
“Like 90% of other irrational college freshmen, I was scared I wasn't going to be able to make friends in college. More specifically, I was scared that I forgot how to make friends- the last time I had to actively go out and find friends was freshman year of high school. But almost as soon as I got on campus, I found out how easy it was to approach people and talk to them. As cliche as it is, everyone's in this terrifying, exciting new transition together.” — Yoorie C. (Cornell University)
With recent roommate horror stories circulating the internet, it’s understandable that this would be a major subject for concern. Though living with someone isn’t easy, it’s always doable. Here are some roommate stories with a happy ending.
“I was so stressed out about my roommate situation; that we wouldn't get along, that we'd disagree about everything, that she'd be super loud and inconsiderate, etc. My situation isn't perfect, (living with another human is just hard to begin with) but it's working out fine. And not everything has to be dramatic like in the movies; most conflicts, if there even are any, are super easy to resolve.” — Mara R. (University of Colorado, Boulder)
“I had the option to look for my roommates through a Facebook group, but I just decided to go random. Before roommate assignments came out, I was so nervous that I would get stuck with someone I was incompatible with. I didn’t care about being best friends with my roommate, but I just wanted someone who I could get along with. I guess I got lucky, because I love my roommate and I think we are going to be friends for a long time!” — Katie H. (Emory University)
It’s always unnerving when you don’t know what to expect from your classes.
“I was scared of my classes. I knew they would be really hard, but I thought that my professors would be really strict and unreasonable and that the course material would be too difficult to handle. Unlike what teachers in high school tell you, they actually somewhat ease you into college classes. So even though the material is harder, the teaching is better. I'm already stressed about my GPA, but all of a sudden, my classes aren't about GPA but actually about gaining a comprehensive foundation for what I want to do later which sounds cheesy but it's pretty cool. My classes are definitely harder but they're more meaningful and my teachers are better. So it's a tradeoff.” — Heami Y. (Colorado State University, Denver)
College is a huge transition - physically, mentally and socially. A lot of people become exposed to a whole new world and it’s both exciting and nerve-racking all at once.
“I wasn’t nervous about one thing in particular, but just the fact that I had no idea what to expect. Were my classes going to be harder or easier than high school? Would I make friends that I actually liked? It was all these questions that I had no answers to and it was really scary going in. But once I actually got to college, I realized that a lot of people feel this way and it’s totally okay to be scared.” — Jamie O. (University of Minnesota)
“Transitioning from a small-town high school to a school with over 20,000 students was a huge change. I had always known everyone at my school and even most people in my town, so I thought I’d be really overwhelmed just by the sheer number of students on campus. So far though, I love it here. I don’t even know how I survived with such little diversity back home.” — Jonathan K. (Northwestern University)
“People always talk about the quintessential college life filled with activities like football games, clubs and going out with friends. I was worried that I would miss out on some of those key experiences. I was a transfer student, so I guess there was more pressure to make the most of the two years I had left… to meet more people and get more involved. I felt like I was already behind so I wanted to take every opportunity I could.” — Max J. (University of California, Los Angeles)
Even if you are still nervous about some aspect of college, chances are, so is everyone around you. Just look at all these freshmen who were nervous for college too! You are not alone in your fears.
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