It’s that time of the year when the heat starts to cool and the heady days of summer begin to feel like a dream. Along with the changing fall foliage come the abundance of ‘back-to-school’ guides both in print and online, bracing students, new and old, for the end of long days out in the sun and the start of longer days in the library. While no single college experience is ‘typical’, it’s sometimes comforting to have a peek of what’s to come – and this is my recollection of the first few months of college a long time ago.
I remember the excitement. There is definitely a genuine pleasure in physically being in the school you worked so hard to be part of. Getting off the bus being greeted by the ever-smiling volunteers, it almost felt like all those hours of anxiety and uncertainty and inadequacy were finally banished – that I have indeed arrived. That smugness wore off very quickly once lectures started, but let yourself bask in that warm glow of achievement, you worked for this and you deserve every bit of excitement those first few days.
More than the fear of not doing well in college, I think the fear of not making friends was another preoccupation. After travelling thousands of miles to a city many of us have only been in for a few hours (if at all), making new friends seemed almost impossible at first. But I think it’s worth remembering that almost everyone there is new: just like you, they have been uprooted from a life they know well into a new one and they too are looking to share their experience with new friends and acquaintances. Cast away the insecurity; smile and just say hello – I found that there was only one secret to making friends; being friendly yourself.
For all the guides and tips that one can read, there is certainly no fool-proof, sure-fire manual to enjoy starting college. I was lucky enough to have exceedingly supportive friends and family who reminded me that the transition to college life was a big one and it was okay to be insecure and unsure of what to expect. Looking back, those days of being home-sick, of feeling alone while being in crowds, the crippling fear that I didn’t deserve my spot – these were the same emotions that help us all grow and feel comfortable in our own skin.
But more than anything else trust me on this...the good times, they will be awesome.
College, Graduate School, and Career Coaching.