The first day of class is just days away for many college campuses. That day can be very emotional for any student. However, there may be no one more emotional than the incoming freshmen. The first day of college is more than just attending a new class, it’s entering a whole new world.
It’s been 12 years since I had my first day of classes. Many of my biggest fears came true that day. I couldn’t find a place to park, I got lost, and I was very late to my first class. It was a public speaking course. The first assignment was to give a quick speech about the person sitting next to you. My partner had very little time to interview me as I was so late. Her speech went something like, “I can only assume she’s not a very punctual person given she was so late today.” That got her a laugh and me a red face.
Looking back, I find it funny, too. But that day I was ready to cash in my chips and assume college wasn’t for me. Our emotions have a way of getting the best of us. By my final semester I had made many more mistakes, been late a million more times, and still managed to get lost on campus after all those years. Those issues among a million others seemed to happen to everyone though, and after a few years of it, the fretting stopped and it was just understood that college is a dynamic environment. Everyone was trying to find their way, it wasn’t just me who struggled from time to time.
More than a decade later, I wondered what today’s freshmen were dealing with. What fears are keeping them up at night as they prepare for their first day. I asked several members of the class of 2016 and here’s what they said were their biggest fears:
2. Being late to class
3. Gaining weight
4. Having belongings stolen
5. Losing a dorm key
6. Tests, quizzes, and finals
7. Being too stressed with homework
8. Inability to socialize or overcome shyness
9. Sharing space
10. Respectful roommates
12. Not being prepared for harder classes
13. Not having good study habits
14. Not getting along with my roommate
15. Not staying as close with old friends
16. Choosing the wrong college
17. Being too busy, overbooking
18. Losing scholarships
19. Going to the wrong class on the wrong day
20. Falling behind in my classes
21. Getting distracted trying to balance it all
22. Feeling overwhelmed
23. Getting lost in a new city
24. Lacking motivation
It looks as though not much has changed since I was a freshman. This are pretty standard, time-tested fears that shouldn’t make you feel like an outsider on campus but a definite insider. To this year’s freshmen I say you’re not alone in your fears. Chances are the person sitting next to you on the first day is thinking the same thing. Take a few deep breaths and remember the brightest people in the world were in your shoes once. Everyone started college a little bit scared. You can do this.