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Common First-Year Concerns

The admissions office let me in by accident.

Not true. And even if they did, they'd have told you by now.

My roommate will be awful.

Although possible, the vast majority of college students get along really well with their roommates. There are things you can do to start off strongly with a new roommate, and ways to handle problems if they arise. Talk to your RA for additional tips if there are conflicts.

I don't know anyone here. I'll have problems meeting people and making friends.

Everyone is new. Virtually, no first year student knows anyone else when they arrive. It's the perfect time to get to know people. Most people meet a lot of friends during the first semester through Orientation events, dorm life, and classes. Take a deep breath and introduce yourself. If they're not interested move on to someone else. There are a lot of ways to meet new people on campus.

I won't be able to cut it academically.

Your college experience will likely be harder than high school. Your work load will increase, assignments will be worth more, and you'll likely spend more time studying and working on projects. It is pretty common for a student's GPA to drop from high school to college, but that doesn't mean you aren't doing well. It means you are taking more challenging classes and you will need to adjust how you prepare. If you need help, there are plenty of academic resources on campus.

I'm really going to be homesick for my friends/family/boyfriend/girlfriend back home.

Probably. You will likely miss people back home. Even if you aren't going away for college, you will likely have less time to see them. Managing a long-distance relationship can be hard, but it can be done. You can miss someone and still be success in college. Make sure to stay in touch with people you care about from home as well as meet new people on campus.

I'm concerned about my finances.

College is expensive. Your funds may be tight and you may be taking out loans. Create a budget and practice managing your money. Be aware of the specifics of your financial aid package and schedule an appointment with Financial Aid if you have any questions. Be proactive about your finances. Apply for positions on campus or in the community if you need extra money.

I don't know how I'll balance so many things.

Time management is one of the biggest challenges for college students. If you are struggling making a reasonable schedule, stop by Learning Strategies Instruction in the Student Success Center and they will help you make a schedule for the semester.

I'm nervous about being on my own for the first time.

Good! You should be nervous. Being on your own, especially for the first time, is hard. However, you have what it takes to be on your own and be successful. You made it this far. You will make mistakes along the way and there will be times where you need extra support, but you're ready to head off on your own. And if not, there are plenty of people and support mechanisms on a college campus to help you out.

I don't know how to do basic things, like doing my own laundry or cooking for myself.

Everyone had to learn to do these things at some point. If you can, practice before you come to school. If you can't practice, learn by watching someone when you get to college, watch how-to videos online, or ask a friend.

My health is really important to me, and I'm worried about gaining weight and the "freshman fifteen."

Being healthy in college is really important. And while most students have heard of the "freshman fifteen," it isn't inevitable. Stick to a regular eating schedule and do what makes sense for you. There are a lot of healthy dining options on campus and there is a gym and a nutritionist if you need support.

I'm intimidated by professors and I don't know how to ask for help.

It can feel intimidating to approach your professor. However, the number one thing professors wish for is for more students to be engaged. Most professors are nice and approachable. They got into higher education to be involved, instruct, and educate. They want active students. Go to their office hours, ask for their advice, and ask questions when you need clarification.

I'm worried about being disconnected from my religious life, practice, and community.

Being away at school doesn't have to mean being disconnected from your religion. There are multiple ways to keep your religious life active in college. Check out the numerous student religious organizations, campus ministry offices, and places of worship in the community.

I don't think I can handle all of the stress.

College is a very stressful place, but being in a stressful situation and being stressed are very different things. Managing college stress takes some practice, but is definitely manageable. Check out the self-care resources on campus, at the Counseling Center, and in the community. Make sure to find balance between work, social, academic, and self-care activities.

I have no idea what I want to do after college.

This is a really common fear for incoming students. While you should still know how to pick your classes and eventually how to choose a major, you'll have more time to explore your interests and be open to new ideas and career choices. There are classes offered about career exploration and academic advisors available to answer questions.