To this day, I remember every detail of the drive to East Lansing on my freshman year move-in day. I remember sitting with my knees pulled up to my chest in the passenger seat of my dad’s truck, my eyes squeezed shut as I fought down waves of nausea. My brain ran wild, my heart pounding against my ribs. I was overwhelmed with feelings of fear, excitement, uncertainty, and shock. I couldn’t quite believe that I was actually on my way to move into college.
Am I ready? Can I handle it? Am I smart enough? Have I picked the right school? What if I can’t do it? What if it is too hard? What if I don’t make any friends? What if I have the worst roommate ever? What if I have made a mistake?
I think all of these fears are common among first-year students during their first several weeks at college and anyone who denies ever lying awake in their lofted dorm bed with thoughts like these running through their head, is definitely lying.
It’s tough to go off to school, but it’s even tougher to be plagued by uncertain thoughts that detract from your freshman college experience. If those feelings of uncertainty and a lack of belonging don’t go away, it might be time to consider if green and white are the colors for you.
1. Be honest with yourself
Feeling like you’re at the wrong school can make you feel like you’ve failed somehow and should just power through it. To do so, however, does a disservice to yourself and your happiness. Many students choose their college based on the school championed by their parents, and they grow up knowing inherently that that’s the college they’ll attend. Others spend their lives set on their dream school. Others wait until a few months before moving in before they settle on a school. Whatever your situation, the opinion that always matters most is your own. Be honest with yourself if campus and your classes aren’t what you want from your college experience and start thinking about your options and narrowing down what it is that YOU want from your school.
2. Talk to loved ones
One of the worst things you can do to yourself is keep all these thoughts inside and try to muddle through them on your own. You should never feel like you have to deal with anything alone. Talk to friends and family and tell them what you’re going through. Your feelings are valid and, at the end of the day, your college experience is about you and what you want. Talk to people about your options, and always go with your gut.
3. Try getting involved on campus
Sometimes we feel like we don’t belong when we haven’t found our niche. It takes time to find what we’re passionate about, and drive to stick with that passion once we’ve found it. Go to Sparticipation and talk to your adviser about finding a club that suits your interests. Talk to your friends and find out what groups piqued their interest, and maybe try going to a meeting or two. Who knows, finding that perfect group could make the biggest difference in deciding that MSU is the place for you! Getting involved on campus allows you to have the perfect opportunity to explore your interests and make some incredible friends that share the same ambitions as you. Finding a group that feels a little like home can make or break your college experience.
No matter what, when it comes to make your decision, it’s crucial to remember that your decision is completely up to you, and there will always be people to support your choices. You know yourself better than anyone else, and you know what it will take to make you feel happy and at home.
College is hard. Transitioning to college is hard. Don’t punish yourself for experiencing that reality. You owe it to yourself to make sure that you find the right school for you so that you can make your college experience an incredible one. Trust your gut, and the rest will follow.