Declassified: Top fears of college first-years

“What if I lose my friends back home?”
When I began my first year at Trinity in the ancient and hallowed year of 2017, I remember being worried that I wouldn’t ever talk to my friends from high school after we all started college (I think there are literally only two other people in my year who came to Trinity from my high school). However, fast-forward two years, and while I’ve made new friends at Trinity, I also still talk to several of my high school friends — mostly through text messages and social media because of the distance, but I enjoy seeing what they’re up to, whether they’re in art school and making short films, publishing their poems in literary magazines or just tweeting about what they had for breakfast. As long as you make an effort to maintain connections with friends from high school, you’ll often be able to stay friends with them; but even if not, college is a great time to make new friends and learn more about yourself and others!

“I will become depressed or anxious.”
College can be a difficult time for many as it relates to mental health, but Counseling Services on campus is a great resource if you’re struggling with depression, anxiety or other mental health-related issues. In addition to providing short-term counseling sessions, Counseling Services can also refer you to an off-campus counselor or therapist for longer-term counseling, or a psychiatrist if necessary. Try to surround yourself with a support network of friends (isolating yourself is bad!) or family. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors if your mental health is affecting the quality of your assignments or just to ask for support and/or accommodations like essay extensions. It’s always better to ask for help sooner rather than later.

“I will disappoint my parents, who are paying for me to be here.”
College can be hard, and it’s not for everyone. Especially if your parents are paying a lot for you to attend a private university, or if you’re a first-generation student, it’s only natural to worry that you’re going to let those who love you down if you don’t figure out what you’re doing with your life immediately upon graduation (been there). However, it’s important to remember that college, ideally, isn’t defined by having a perfect GPA or ready-to-go career plan (if that were the case, humanities majors basically wouldn’t exist); it’s about having new experiences, making lasting connections and friendships and developing a set of academic tools and perspectives that will help shape how you view the world, no matter what you do after Trinity (or if you ultimately decide to leave Trinity). Even if you end up failing a class, growth and change are always possible, and you won’t be disappointing anyone.

“I won’t be able to manage my time.”
As someone who has difficulty managing my time, time-management anxiety is a very relatable concern, especially for those of us who didn’t really have to “study” before attending college —suddenly long projects and deadlines exist and MATTER, and what are we supposed to do? However, if managing your time is becoming a pervasive concern, you might want to consider getting evaluated for ADHD or something similar, and Student Accessibility Services in the Tiger Learning Commons of the library can be a valuable resource in helping you get the accommodations that can help you be successful in college. In the meantime, some things that have helped me get things done and may help you too are: setting firm deadlines for yourself (it doesn’t matter if what you’ve written isn’t your best! Just turn it in!), studying with friends who can help keep you accountable, creating a list of what motivates you to keep going, finding a space to study that is somewhat pleasant and welcoming (face it, that is not CSI at 3 a.m.). Oh, and did I mention iced coffee?