Dear freshmen: Normalizing first semester worries and doubts

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Dear freshmen: Normalizing first semester worries and doubts

Story by Rebekah Nelson, Multimedia Editor

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The doubts and worries in the back of your head are valid, and the constant state of having no idea what you’re doing is totally normal. I am right there with you. Conversations about the adjustment period during freshman year, especially the first semester, are hard to come by. So here I am starting that conversation. Here are 10 doubts and worries of the common college freshman and my perspective on how to see them in a positive light. 

*Full disclaimer this is my single experience. Not everyone will agree/relate and that’s okay. This piece is to hopefully remind other freshmen that they are not alone*

Is this the right college for me?

Where you go to school is important and feeling like you belong is even more important. The first few weeks of college act as a transition time and a sense of belonging will take some time to develop. If you don’t feel like you are where you need to be, don’t panic, it will all work itself out. Whether this is the college you will stay at for four years or one that is simply a starting point, I promise you that you are here for a reason. 

Changing your major 

According to The College Solution, one-third of students switch majors during or after their freshman year. Freshman year’s purpose is to discover your passions and explore your options. I know many upperclassmen who changed their major freshman year and are doing just fine. Simply have a talk with your advisor to take the next step. That’s what they’re there for. 

The “Freshman 15”

If not monitored, yes the “freshman 15” can in fact “sneak up on ya.” However, the caf offers many healthy options and the gym is free. Watching what you eat and maintaining some sort of work out schedule will be your savior. But don’t be too hard on yourself. You are allowed to indulge in your favorite foods once in a while and take “off days.” It’s all about balance.

New relationships

With such a small campus, everybody knows everybody. With that being said, if you haven’t found your people yet, don’t worry, you will. I promise you it’s worth the wait. Being yourself and keeping an open mind is honestly the best way to find them. By doing this, you will attract people just like you.  

Roommate stress 

For this subject, the common theme I have found is communication. When small problems are not addressed, they can easily manifest and become much bigger. When boundaries are put aside and not spoken about, harmonious living is unattainable. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, but you do have to communicate with them. You owe it to yourself and to the other person to set guidelines of what is and isn’t okay.  

“You are not alone and are more than your doubts and worries.”

Getting in the groove of classes

The transition between high school and college can be seen through coursework. More homework is given, study hours increase and more is expected. Create study groups and take advantage of tutoring. Study breaks are essential. Take care of yourself and get enough sleep. Do the work so you can enjoy life afterward. #workhardplayhard

New environment

This goes without saying but you won’t feel at home right away. It’s going to take some time. Putting yourself out there and being open to meeting new people will increase your chances of finding your place on campus. Exploring often and venturing off by yourself will help familiarize yourself with the environment and feel more at home. 

Homesickness 

Homesickness is a real thing and I see it everyday through the people around me. Homesickness is a very normal thing and contact should not be lost or weakened by the distance. However, I do believe that having this time away from home and creating your own space is essential for growth and maturity. Going back and visiting family is important, but try to refrain from going every weekend. Assign a certain day of the week for phone calls back home for guaranteed conversations. Then, go out and create a life of your own. 

Time management 

I’ll be honest, this is one I am currently struggling with myself. Finding time to balance everything and keeping up with the demands of life is HARD, and can sometimes feel daunting. Nevertheless: have and use a planner. Schedule out study time along with breaks. Start assignments when they are given out instead of the night before they’re due. 

Seeking help 

All else aside, all the doubts and worries you may be feeling are valid. I guarantee you, whatever you may be feeling, the class of ‘23 or any other class before you is right there with you. If what you are going through feels like too much too handle, never hesitate to start a conversation with friends or seek counseling. You are not alone and are more than your doubts and worries.

Student Counseling Center: https://www.bakeru.edu/healthcenter/