College. Webster’s Dictionary describes it as an “educational institution or establishment,” whereas new students may describe it as the most incredible, yet confusing experience of their lives thus far. At first, college is a psychological marathon for the brain until it can physically and emotionally figure out what exactly is going on.

Adapting to college for a freshman or first-time college students can be be incredibly difficult, but really how difficult is it? Freshmen who leave home are thrown into an unfamiliar place and forced to adapt to living on their own. It’s a difficult experience for most people.

“I was worried I wouldn’t fit in,” freshman Siri Rigsby said. “I was afraid everyone would think I was dumb and would hate me.”

This reaction is natural for many students first encounter with college (or any new situation for that matter). The human brain naturally craves acceptance. For some students, making friends and fitting in isn’t as hard as it is for others, but when you add the other aspects of higher education to the equation, things can seem intimidating.

“I was most nervous about falling behind in my classes,” said freshman Dallas Roberts. “I procrastinate a lot.”

No matter the fear, every freshman walks onto campus with dozens of unanswered questions and what-ifs pouring anxiously from their heads.

“Freshmen try to impress each other to kind of set a tone for who they want to be,” senior Branden Griffith said. “Once they start feeling the pressure of classwork, I think they will start caring a lot less about who they are trying to be, and will naturally figure out what works best for them.”

Freshmen, don’t stress. This transitioning experience is new to every single new student walking the campus alongside you. You are not alone. Although right now the whole college thing may seem overwhelming, it gets better. Already two weeks of school have come and gone, and the vibe on campus has changed from an anxious, uptight circus to a more easy-flowing atmosphere.
As the first few weeks of college slowly fade away behind us, the fears of new students start to slowly melt away. As everyone begins to find their routine and what works best for them, the school year will actually begin to take flight and freshman year will end up not so scary after all.