"Will I feel lonely?" "Will I get homesick?" "Will I be able to handle the workload?" "Will I get along with my roommate?" "Can I really make it on my own?"
Questions. Questions. Questions. Any high school student who's getting ready for college has dozens of them. And most are concerns about stepping into this unfamiliar territory.
While there will be many changes and challenges when you leave the comforts of home and high school, take heart: There are several steps you can take to get over your "freshman fears" and get comfy at your new college home. So if your stomach is doing flip-flops, take a deep breath, relax, and read on.
Realize You're Not Alone
There's nothing worse than that dreaded "new kid" feeling, right? Everyone seems to be in the know about what's going on—everyone but you, that is.
Lindsay Person, a recent graduate of Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, struggled with these feelings when she entered college.
"For some reason, I thought everyone had already become friends," says Lindsay. "And that included the other new freshmen! Before I even got to school, I'd imagined students laughing and joking together, and there I'd be, not even knowing what was so funny. But when I was actually standing in the registration line, I realized I was there with hundreds of other students who didn't know anyone, either. Right away, we had something in common."
You can get relief by reminding yourself there are others who share the same struggles. As Lindsay found, there's something comforting in the fact that you're all going through these changes together.
Share Your Feelings
Sometimes, just talking about fears can make students feel less anxious. Sharing your feelings with other freshmen might be as helpful to them as it is to you.
"I worked through fears by talking and telling my friends what I was going through. I was just learning to be honest," says Lindsay.
But while your friends can empathize, they may not have the answers you're looking for. It's important to talk to both those who are experiencing the same feelings and those who have been through it all and survived.
Christian colleges provide a great "expert" resource: resident assistants. These older students are equipped with information, training and experience. Plus, they were freshmen not so long ago. They remember what it was like and want to help you.
"The RAs in the dorm are really encouraging," says Charissa Engstrom, who spent her freshman and sophomore years at Brier Crest Bible College in Caron Port, Saskatchewan. "They are there to show you around and you can talk to them whenever you want to."
Lindsay suggests taking advantage of another great resource: your college's faculty and staff. "If I had a problem, I could go to my residence life leader, or anyone in administration. I really believe people work at this school because they care about students."
Along with college leaders, you can always go to the one authority who's on call 24-7: Let God know what's troubling you. Pray often and pray honestly. You also may want to write those prayers in a journal—a great way to express your fears and struggles to God. Then when these problems have passed, you can look back at what you've written and thank God for bringing you through your difficult time.
You should also journal your thanks to God. When times get tough again, you can look back to these prayers of thanksgiving and see how God helped you in the past. You'll be encouraged as you realize he will help you again.
Plug into a Church
One of the most common mistakes freshmen make is neglecting to get involved in a church right away. After all, you are in a totally Christian environment, right?