College is Scary

Scared young woman

College can be scary, but lots of help is available to you!
Image: Shutterstock

It depends on your situation, of course, but there might be no bigger change in your life than the transition from high school to college. Summer break barely seems long enough for any self-growth, after all.

We’re starting with the assumption that you’ve been accepted to a college and know where you’re going. That typically all happens over the course of your senior year. You have your letter of admission tucked safely away, you’ve toured the school, you’ve seen your dorm building, and your parents bought you a school hoodie. But still, right now you’re living in your parents’ house where you’ve lived all your life, and in September, you’ll be moving out for the first time. You’re going to be expected to set your own goals. And that’s frightening.

Preparation is always the first weapon against fear. There is a lot of research you can do. Universities have massive websites mostly geared towards the incoming freshman. That’s you! Study the website. Look up who teaches classes you might like, and check them out on ratemyprofessor.com. Look into fees. See if there’s an alumni organization that can put you in contact with current or recent students you can pepper with questions.

If you live nearby, it’s not too early to start getting involved. Campus clubs are hands-down the best way to start finding your people.

Set goals. If you know what you want to study, there’ll be a department and an adviser for that program. Find them, talk to them, start making a plan. No one is going to tell you which classes to take beyond the basic requirements, and even those aren’t set in stone. Your own goals will define your academic path. Remember, they can always change later. Nearly 70% of students change majors at least once, and many schools don’t require a major at all until your third year.

Finally, ask for help! Campuses are all set up so that help is available to you. Every major has an adviser, and every part of campus life has someone whose job it is to help you out. Your tuition pays for all of that, so jump on it!

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