“Do not let your difficulties fill you with anxiety; after all it is only in the darkest nights that stars shine more brightly.”
– Ali Ibn Abi Talib
Being in a new environment can be really overwhelming. Starting my second week of college, I’ve learned some fears that I currently have, even though I have taken college classes before. Here are my fears, and how I am going to overcome them.
This was and still is one of my biggest fears. Being someone who does not like to talk to people and who is generally really shy, making friends is really difficult for me. I’ve learned how to be alone, but there are still group projects and just generally having a support group.
I’m starting to go to a club meeting every week (starting this week), but I’m still nervous. The good thing about clubs is that you already have something in common, but it can still be difficult to make friends. It’s much easier to just talk to people and not have the commitment of a friend. Although, if you are afraid of commitment, then I am not the blogger for you.
School Work and Studying
This fear is pretty common. I remember when I was starting to take college classes at the actual college at 15 years old. It was something that I wasn’t used to. I had to work with people who were 5-10 years older than I am. I had to do much more school work and I was expected to know much more than I did.
It is scary and it’s scary because it’s different. You suddenly have a lot more free time than you used to. You have to learn how to manage your time really well so that you can get the grades you really want, but don’t let studying take over your life.
The general rule of thumb is to spend 2-3 hours outside of class studying for every credit you are taking. For example, this semester, I’m taking 14 credits, so I should be studying 28-42 hours a week studying outside of class. Of course, I plan to enforce this rule more as the semester goes on.
High school tries to prepare you for college, but once you get there, it’s a pretty big wake up call. The main thing that high school tries really hard to do, but fails miserably at, is teaching self-advocacy.
Self-advocacy is the concept and skill of asking for help when you need it and not depending on others to do it for you. From my experience, which is drastically different from the normal high school experience, self-advocacy is a concept that high schools spend about a week focusing on, but after the first week of school, they don’t really help any more.
College is drastically different than high school. The main thing is that you MUST learn to take care of yourself. Part of independence that teenagers so desperately crave, is the application of responsibility. Make sure that you know when your homework is due, when you have tests, how to make food, manage your money, keep your living spaces clean, keeping at least a little bit of a social life, etc.. All of these things, you must learn to do for yourself.
Now, I’m not the most reliable person for balancing work, school, and life because I’ve never had a job, but I do believe that I have a good school/life balance.
When it comes to balancing these portions of your life, it’s important to manage your time, and manage your time well. I would suggest having a calendar and on the primary calendar, put in all classes, work times, and clubs. Then, on a secondary calendar, mark out study times and social times. The primary calendar is also where you will put appointments and other various commitments that you have made. The secondary calendar is flexible. That schedule can be easily changed depending on what commitments you have made.
I hope this helped all of you new university/college students. What are your fears about school? Do you have any tips on how to overcome some of those fears? If so, I would appreciate if you left a comment sharing your experiences.
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Lots of love,