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Easing the Pre-College Jitters

July 23, 2008 By: Category: College Tips

In less than six weeks I’ll be leaving for my freshman year of college at Yale.  College is that thing all my friends are doing. The word I’ve heard fifty times a day for the past year. The place I’ve stared at on websites and in brochures. The thing I’ve been planning on for years. The thing is, I’m possibly not ready for it at all. When someone asks me how I feel about leaving for school I respond with one word: scared.


I’m not saying I’m not oh-my-gosh-I’m-sooooo-excited-thrilled. I am! (note that exclamation point) But there’s so much hype surrounding college in our society, so many high school counselors talking about how important it is, so many websites and books telling you how to get in, so many Hollywood movies portraying the frenzied studying, the wild and rowdy parties, that college has turned into this distant fantasy. Soon I’ll be faced with the reality and I can’t help but wonder if I’m ready for it.

There are a few things I specifically keep thinking about:

Academics. I went to a public high school in a small town. I’ve never doubted I got a good education but I’m still worried about making the transition into college level work. I’ve never pulled an all-nighter. What’s it going to be like to, for the first time, see the sun come up as I finish typing a paper? I pulled straight A’s throughout high school. What will it feel like to get my first B in a class I worked really hard in? I know these moments will come and I know college academics won’t be easy. But I’m ready for the challenge.

Homesickness. I once went to a camp the summer after third grade. I cried for hours upon hours each day longing for home. Okay, I know that was nine years ago, but still. I chose to go to school out-of-state and I’ll only be home a few times a year. My mom won’t be there to make me tea after I had a bad day. My cats won’t be sleeping on either side of me at night. My friends will be thousands of miles away. For the first time I’ll be on my own and to be honest, I’m afraid of growing up. But I think I’ll find myself pleasantly distracted by the new faces, new challenges and many adventures college has to offer.

Losing myself. I’m afraid of how college might change me. I know I’m bound to become a new person but I don’t want to forget who I am or where I came from. My second grade teacher wrote me a letter for graduation. She gave me this advice: “You are about to embark on a very unique opportunity to absorb many new thoughts and ideas. Let them soak into every pore, but stay grounded in who you are”. I hope I am a strong enough person to do this.

Disappointment. Remember the hype I was talking about earlier? Well the big letdown is part of what I’m afraid of. After all this anticipation, I’m bound to have a bit of a downer after my first few days at college. We always expect that some new place with new people will mean something entirely new. While this is partially true, even college is still life. And life is reality. And reality isn’t that great big fantasy those counselors and websites and books and movies paint a picture of.

So, these are my concerns, but deep down, I know I’ll be fine. I’d love to know what all of you fellow freshman-to-be’s are concerned about. And, if any of you older and more wiser students have any advice, my ears are open.