Starting college can be super scary.
In the fall of 2018, I will be attending my first classes at a new school in a new city that is over four hours away from home. I’m going to be transparent here; I’m really nervous. I don’t know the campus and its layout very well. I’m still without an official roommate (although I’m working on that). I don’t have a place to live yet, and I don’t have a decided major.
Sure, this sounds like a big mess. It sounds like I’m going in blind. However, I can promise you, I’m not.
Just this past Tuesday, my parents and I drove up to my new school for orientation. We sat through hours of (what seemed like endless) meetings with both staff and students from the university. We received TONS of information. Going into orientation, I felt completely lost. I barely knew anyone there, and I had know clue what I was doing. Now that orientation is over, I feel more confident than ever. Here’s a few tips that I learned from orientation that helped ease my nerves, and could do the same for you.
If your like me, talking to new people can be difficult. I’m always nervous about saying the wrong thing, or coming off as weird. But, what I learned last week proved me wrong. So many other people are nervous to introduce themselves, so getting over that fear and stepping up to talk to some could help ease the other persons nerves as well!
At orientation I only knew one girl out of all the students there, and we weren’t even in the same small group. Clicks were already forming in the small group I was a part of, and I was an outsider. No one came up and introduced themselves to me, and honestly it made me feel awful.
When we were walking to our meeting place as a group, I noticed a girl walking by herself. She was in the same position that I was in: no one had introduced themselves to her. When I recognized this, I felt compelled to talk to her. I argued with myself (literally back and fourth in my head) about introducing myself to her. After about five minutes of doing so, I realized I was being ridiculous. I was never going to make friends if I constantly talked myself out of meeting new people. So, stepping out of my comfort zone, I turned to her and said, “Hey, I figured I’d introduce myself. I’m Abby.”
She chuckled to herself, but I could see that she felt relieved, as did I.
From then on, we talked some more. She was one of the only people I really got to know that week, but taking baby steps are okay. No one can run unless they learn how to walk first.
At orientation, I also met my (hopefully) future roommate. My parents have friends who’s daughter is attending the university as a freshman this year. I was able to meet her, as well as her friend. Her friend doesn’t have a roommate, so we decided it would be fun to room together. The best part is, they are both Christians, so we can all get plugged into christian organizations together.
Meet with your advisor!!!
Meeting with an advisor was probably my favorite thing that I did at orientation. Because I am undecided in my major, it helped me pick classes that allow me to explore my areas of interest, while taking classes that are necessary for graduation. On top of all that, the advisor and councilor that I met with were super nice and they really want students to succeed in their education. This meeting eased my nerves about classes and being on track to graduate, so now I feel more prepared to begin school.
There are so many different opportunities to get involved in various clubs and sports in college. From playing football, to joining the marching band, there is something for everyone. Most employers look for involvement in these groups when considering people for a job. Not only that, but these clubs are a chance to take a break from all the studying, and provide an opportunity to meet new people!
Most campuses (if not all) have christian organizations available to join. These groups are especially important in college and can help you keep close to God while away from home. They can also point you to churches that you can attend while in college.
Attend school events!
Similar to getting involved in clubs and sports, attending school events in college is important. It can familiarize students with their schools traditions, customs and values. Going to major sports events, such as football or baseball games, allow students to root on their peers. At my school, they have various artists, like singers and comedians, that come and perform for students for free!
Many colleges put together big events for homecoming or holidays for students to attend. For example, the Wednesday before classes start, my school is hosting a huge barbecue for the students to kick off the new school year, so I will be moving in early so that I can attend the event.
Going to these events can introduce you to your fellow classmates, as well as allow you to enjoy your college experience to the fullest.
Figure out where your classes are in advance!!
If your school (or potential school) is like mine, its huge. All the buildings look the same, and there are so many of them. Me, being directionally challenged, has already gotten lost on campus a few times before. I spent about 30 minutes wandering around, trying to make it to my destination.
Because of this, if possible, walk to your classes a few times before you have to attend them so you don’t get lost on your first day. Trust me, it can save you from a ton of worrying (and walking).
As you may have heard, college is a lot different than high school. Most learning is done outside of the classroom. Classes meet less frequently, and only last for a semester. This means that cramming for an exam the night before isn’t going to cut it. Not only because you learn the bare minimum, but the test could potentially be one of only three or four grades for that class.Most professors don’t collect and grade homework, which eliminates a big chunk of the high school grade book. This being so, if the test grade that you get is an F, the overall grade may be too. Long gone are the days of cramming and getting A’s on assignments and tests, my friends.
If you’re looking for employment, get a job at your school!
Getting a job in college can be stressful and all near impossible. Conflicts such as crazy hours and strict bosses, just to name a few, can change a good work experience into a bad one. However, getting a job at your school can be ten times more beneficial. Firstly, they have SUPER flexible hours that they can fit in with your class schedule. Secondly, they are always looking to hire students, and it’s okay if you have little or no previous job experience. Also, location is convenient because you will be working on campus. Lastly, you’ll get to meet other students on the job (which if you haven’t caught on is super important!), both coworkers and costumers!
Step out of your comfort zone!!!
College is a time for new experiences. Join that club you wanted to join in high school. Ask another student for directions if you get lost. Talk to that girl you want to be friends with. Invite that guy you know to church. There are so many new opportunities awaiting you at your school. Don’t miss them!
I hope these tips were helpful and will help you in getting ready for your first day of college, either now or in the future. They surely have helped me with my anxiety, and now that it is out of the way, all I feel is excitement for the fall!