Education after high school can be a scary thing.
The transition from high school to post-secondary is huge, and although change is good, it’s often scary. So if you’re starting post-secondary school in the fall, it’s completely normal if you have some (or all) of these fears running through your head.
Here are some common freshman fears and a few tips on how to avoid letting them faze you.
1. Not Making Friends
Worrying about not making friends is normal, especially if you’re moving in from a remote town and starting at a school where you don’t know anybody. We grow up going through elementary and high school with at least some of the same friends, so attending a school where you don’t know anyone can definitely be intimidating. But you still shouldn’t worry about it. Why? You’re not the only one! Every first year student is in a situation where they want to make new friends, so if you open yourself up to that, you’ll meet your new BFF in no time.
2. Getting Lost
Once upon a time, you were new to high school. You probably had the same fear of getting lost and not being able to find your classrooms, but eventually you got over it, didn’t you? The same goes for post-secondary. Many schools have staff out and about in the first few weeks to point you in the right direction, but if you’re really nervous about this, head to campus before classes begin and find your bearings. Eventually, you’ll know your school like the back of your hand.
3. Failing with a Capital F
Now that you’re paying a truckload of money to get educated, more pressure is on you to not flunk out and waste your schooling. Having the fear of not doing well in your classes, or of your classes being way harder than you anticipated, is normal. Your classes are more than likely not going to be easy for you, especially in your first year. It’ll take some time to catch on to the new learning environment, but don’t let all of this intimidate you. If you work hard and seek out help when you need it, you’ll be just fine.
4. Having a Bad Roomie
There’s a big chance that when you move away from home, you won’t be living with someone you know. Whether you’re in residence or a student house, this can be scary. What if your roomie doesn’t like you? What if they’re weird and creepy? They might be tough to deal with sometimes, but roommates are a huge part of your college experience—even if they aren’t your cup of tea, having different roommates can teach you a lot about life and about yourself. It teaches you what you like and don’t like in other people and what you’ll want in your next roommate. Be open to getting to know whoever you are living with. Embrace it as a learning experience.
5. Being Homesick
In many cases, you live with your parents from birth until your late young adult life. That’s a long friggin’ time! So when it’s time to pack up and move away for school, it’s scary. You don’t really realize what you have until it’s gone, and when you suddenly have to cook, clean, and be more responsible for yourself, there’s no doubt you’ll feel homesick at some point. Nothing beats home, and no matter how much you love school, it’s completely normal to miss it. The good news? With cell phones and the Internet, staying in touch with family and friends is now easier than ever. With all the holidays and reading weeks you’ll get throughout school, you’ll have plenty of time to go back and visit.
6. Peer Pressure
Maybe you didn’t start drinking in high school like other students, or you aren’t into partying or breaking the rules. That’s cool. If anything, you can be more like yourself in college than ever before. If you’ve associated with people who make you feel pressured or uncomfortable, there will be others at your school who won’t make you feel this way. Don’t feel stuck with “friends” that you can’t be yourself around—there are endless amounts of people you can meet and hang out with. It might take a while to figure out who these people are, but when you do, you’ll be so glad you did.
7. Being Broke as Hell
There’s a good chance that you didn’t have to worry much about your finances before college or university. And when post-secondary suddenly throws expenses in your face every single day, it can be quite a shocker. With every bill, night out, and trip to the grocery store, you start getting serious anxiety about whether or not you’ll have enough money to get yourself through the next X amount of years. But the reality is that a vast number of students face financial issues, so don’t feel bad if you have to reject a party invite or hold back on a coffee to ease up your wallet.
8. Lacking Basic Survival Skills
As independent as you think you are in post-secondary school, there’s usually a little voice in the back of your head (a.k.a your parents) that constantly reminds you of your lack of cooking and cleaning skills. Coming to the realization that you’re officially in charge of your own survival is scary business, but before you know it, you’ll realize that you have more survival skills than you thought. Your parents raised you well, and for all the things they didn’t teach you, Google is always there.
9. The Freshman 15
One of many first years’ biggest fears is gaining the freshman fifteen that everyone talks about. Want to know the reality? Not every student gains the freshman fifteen, and if you refrain from eating nothing but junk food and remember to work out, you’ll be fine. Your school probably offers free gym access, too. And remember your good friend Google? That guy can offer you tons of healthy recipes to keep you on track.
10. Not Knowing if You’ll Love Your Program
Choosing what you want to do for the rest of your life at 17 or 18 years old is a lot of pressure to be sure. Having the fear of disliking your program is entirely normal. What many people won’t tell you is that you actually don’t have to choose your career before college. You’ll end up learning so much about yourself once you start, and you’ll be able to switch programs or classes anyhow if you really don’t like what you’re studying. Don’t fret over program selection and remember that it’s okay to be wrong about it—you can always change your decision later.
Still scared? Don’t be! Your experience at post-secondary will be some of the best of your life, so embrace all the fears and speed bumps you hit along your academic journey. It’ll only help you be you.
What’s are some other post-secondary fears you’ve had as a student? How did you overcome them? Let us know in the comments below.
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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.