“Stop and take a breath”

August comes around the corner, and you graduated high school. Congratulations! You should be proud that you have successfully made it through the second stage of your educational journey… but then comes the third and most important stage. At first you feel happy. You are thrilled you got the opportunity to attend the college of your dreams. You are so excited! All your friends are talking about this adventure that is coming right at you. You’re making plans about the first classes, the first parties, the first new friends....

 

A few days before moving in, something starts to feel a bit off. All of the excitement is gone. You are starting to get nervous and feel anxious about the new environment that waits for you to explore it. You are afraid that you will not like the campus and that you will not be able to make new friends. Every night you are dreaming about hard classes, group projects, and strict professors. 

 

Moving day! You wake up early enough to ensure that everything is in order. You have all your essentials. You take a quick look at your parents. They try to motivate you and look happy for you. They really are happy for you. “Thank you, folks, but that’s not working.” They worry too. But it is time! You get into the car with all your things and start. The ride makes you more and more nervous. 

 

All of a sudden, campus appears in front of you. Driving up to the hall feels like the worst decision you have ever made in your life. You ask yourself, “Why did I get my self into this?” and “What was I thinking?”  for the hundredth time. As you go through check-in and make your way to your dorm room only two things are in your head. Am I going to like my roommate, and did he/she take the good side? 

 

You gather all your strength and open the door. You step into the room and it still feels weird. Then you meet your roommate and his/her parents for the first time. You think “Maybe this will not be so bad eventually.” Your parents help you get settled, and then it is time for them to leave. That might have felt like the hardest goodbye, but you didn’t shed a tear. After that, your old friend anxiety comes back to keep you company. 

 

It is okay. 

 

It is okay to feel anxious. It is okay to feel nervous and scared. First year students are not expected to know everything from the start. You need to keep in mind that this is your transition period. 

 

Stop for a minute and take a breath. 

 

Although this may be the most important period of your life and could determine your future career, you need to relax. Think about all the memories that guided you here. Good or bad. Happy or sad.  You are right here, right now, and as you read this article, I want you to remember that you are not alone. Hundreds of other freshmen are currently in the same position as you, facing the same fears and concerns. 

 

Take a minute and pause this voice in your head that always tries to make you feel insecure. 

You will find your way, and there are many people to help you go through it. Whether it is your roommate(s), classmates, teammates, or faculty and staff, you always have someone to count on. 

 

You just have to take it one breath at a time, one day at a time…