How to Conquer Your College Freshman Fears
In a few short weeks, a new flock of college freshmen will arrive on campus; many will be ready to soar, but others may not be ready to leave the nest just yet. Transitioning from high school to college is a major step in anyone’s life. It’s the first step toward adulthood, and it can be a bit scary for some students. But here’s the good news: you’re not alone! Many students have the same fears and concerns when heading off to college. So, before you kiss your parents goodbye and spend your first night on campus alone, check out these helpful tips on tackling your freshman fears.
I’ll Hate My Roommate
You may have seen the crazy blog posts about ‘nightmare’ college roommates, but in actuality, most college roommates are pretty normal. It helps to get things off on the right foot by sitting down with your new roomie and getting to know one another. Establish some guidelines for bringing home guests, study hours, and sharing personal property. You may be comfortable with sharing food and laundry soap, but your roommate may not be so generous. Knowing this upfront will help prevent unnecessary arguments or misunderstandings. Treat each other with respect and communicate. Not everyone will become best friends, but your roomie may help make your transition to college a little easier, especially if you enjoy each other’s company.
I’ll Be Alone
It’s nearly impossible to be ‘alone’ on a college campus. You’ll probably have a roommate or two, and there will be many other students roaming the campus and attending classes with you. It may be difficult to say goodbye to close friends from home, but use this opportunity to reinvent yourself. You’re basically starting with a clean slate, so get out there and meet people — attend orientation, join a campus club, go to the gym, or just invite a fellow classmate to lunch sometime. And, if you find you need a familiar face, log on to Facebook or Google+ for a quick chat to boost your mood. Just be careful not to spend all your time connecting with home, as it may prevent you from moving forward and making new friends. Another good tip is to start a blog and chronicle your experiences. There may be other freshmen dealing with the same issues, so sharing your journey may help you feel less isolated.
I’ll Never Manage Everything
This is where some good time-management skills will come in handy. Even if you juggled academics, clubs, sports, and volunteer work in high school, there’s a whole lot more to tackle in college. Consider carrying a small planner or journal, or track your tasks on your phone. At the start of the semester, you should receive a syllabus for each class. Go through it carefully, jotting down dates for assignments and tests. You should also calendar time for studying, exercise, and household chores. Mom isn’t coming to college with you, so cooking and cleaning are now on your agenda. If you create a weekly (or monthly) schedule and set aside specific time for everything on your plate, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and be less likely to miss important deadlines. Try not to get caught up in partying and missing class, as this may throw off your schedule and cause unnecessary stress.
I’ll Be Broke
Financial concerns are high among most college students, including upperclassmen. After paying your tuition, housing, and other fees, it may seem as though the well has run dry. It’s important to talk to your parents about a spending account for personal expenses, including supplies, clothing, and food. Create a weekly budget, itemizing your needs and how much they will cost. If you find your parents are unable or unwilling to contribute to these expenses, consider finding a part-time job. Once you set your budget, be sure to follow it to ensure you don’t find yourself in a bind later in the semester. Be frugal whenever possible by using coupons, searching for sales, and sharing expenses with your roommate. If you receive an overage from financial aid, don’t spend it frivolously. Consider putting it aside for the following semester or in an emergency fund to help cover those unexpected expenses that may occur.
Another common fear among college freshmen is not knowing which major to choose. Relax. You have a few semesters to figure it out. The majority of your first year will be spent taking general courses, so take this time to enroll in some electives that may help guide you toward your eventual degree path. Use the summer semester to volunteer or intern, as this may also help you decide. College is about discovering yourself and finding your way in the world. It can be scary at first, but try to approach everything with an open mind and willingness to learn. In time, you’ll be ready to spread your wings and fly!