Going off to college can be scary for anyone including first-time students, returning students, and even professors. You’re probably leaving behind friends, family, and your home. You’re going to have to adjust to a new way of life, make new friends, and possibly have more difficult classes than you’re used to. But don’t worry—there are several ways to overcome those fears and enjoy your college experience.
1. Talk to Others
One of the best things you can do right now to prepare for college and calm your nerves is to talk to others. Your parents, friends, family, and teachers can give you advice, share their experiences, or just listen to you. You’d be surprised at how much better you’ll feel by admitting to others that you’re nervous. It can even be a good idea to talk to college advisors or students currently enrolled in the college you will be attending. You might even make a new friend in the process and will feel less like an outsider when you arrive at your new home.
Oftentimes, people are scared by the unknown. So, do some research on your new school and the area where you will be living. You can learn a lot online without even visiting. You can research college clubs or groups you might be interested in joining. Google your professors, connect with students on social media, or look up more information on your major, classes, local events, volunteer opportunities, or even a part-time job. If the school isn’t too far away, plan a trip to scour the area and find a coffee shop, unique store, yoga studio, biking trail, or scenic park. Having things outside of your schooling to look forward to will help you feel more at home.
Sitting idly by while your anxiety takes over isn’t good for you. Focus on what you’re doing right now and don’t let your mind get too far ahead of you. You aren’t at college yet. Staying healthy and active can be a great way to release those endorphins and settle your nerves. Eat right, exercise, do yoga, meditate, hike—whatever makes you feel good.
While you shouldn’t get too far ahead of yourself, a little planning can actually get you excited to go off to college. If you haven’t found student housing yet, now is the time to start looking. You will probably have the choice between an on-campus dorm or off-campus housing. Nearly 87% of college students live off-campus. Looking online or in person at your housing options can get you excited about whatever you choose. Start shopping for dorm room supplies or scour local thrift stores for your new apartment furnishings. You’ll get a little taste of the independence you’re about to gain, and you might find that you like it.
5. Find a Pet-Friendly Student Apartment
Many students find that they’re less anxious if they have a pet, especially if they had one at home. Nowadays, you can usually find a pet-friendly student apartment pretty easily, so bring yours along if you can, get a new one, or even volunteer at a shelter. A pet-friendly student apartment will often allow you to have cats or dogs of a certain size and breed. You may have to pay an additional fee each month or a larger deposit for a pet-friendly student apartment, but for many students, the extra expense is worth it.
6. Go to Events
If your college has an orientation, go to it. The forced meet and greet can actually be beneficial, especially if you’re a quiet or shy person. You will also get the chance to talk to current students and ask questions about the things that might be making you nervous. Terrified you won’t find your classes? Need to find the cafeteria? Take a tour and put your mind at ease. Some colleges even host meetups and other events before the first day of school—attend some or all of them and get involved.
Try some of these tips to see if your fears about going off to college can’t be squelched or at least lessened. Just remember to talk openly about what you’re feeling. And remember, you’ll be surrounded by people that are just as scared as you.