Ease anxieties through togetherness
The idea of an emotional college move in with tears, hugs, and farewells is cliché for a reason. Everyone was ecstatic to get accepted to college, and the idea of moving out was something to look forward to. But, on the big day, when parents finally leave, the anxiety sets in.
No one’s there berating us about the homework we have to do, the grades we have to keep up, the classes that we have to go to, the places we’re not allowed to go to, the double stuffed Oreos we’re not allowed to eat, the alarms we’re supposed to set, or the service work we’re supposed to do.
Slightly concerned about living in a new community, many of us are still excited to trek down the Approach to see the city, find our place in clubs, indulge our food addictions, and build a foundation for a career—ew, adulthood. This sea of new faces and personalities we’re surrounded by, from which we’re supposed to find our best friends for the next four years, is overwhelming and oddly titillating.
For some students, college is about those new experiences, faces, places, and responsibilities. For many, it’s also about forgetting. Students forget about dependence, forget about sleep, and forget the names of everyone they just met.
After the initial discomfort of forcing ourselves to venture out of our cozy shell, we’ve made some friends, started to forge our new identities as college students, and are ready for school in full swing. Anecdotes are swirling around about how hard Rensselaer is, which might mean a wave goodbye to the friends who—probably literally—took sweat and tears to make.
Forget about the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep—nights with eight to 10 minutes might be more realistic. The days of senioritis-induced naps and 3 p.m. “Good mornings” are effectively over. And sure, the bathrooms seem pretty “clean” right now, but the sheer number of people taking care of their sanitary needs and the vague image of what those needs entail make taking a shower an act of bravery.
And forget about the mounting fear of academic ineptitude keeping us all awake at night. It didn’t help that there was an entire presentation dedicated to highlighting the insanely smart and talented among us. We couldn’t be the only ones who felt a sense of imposter syndrome during that presentation. How do we compete in a class where someone’s already secured a $100,000 grant? Congrats though, if you’re reading this. How do we deal with the irrational yet ever-present worry of getting an answer wrong in class with dozens of valedictorians surrounding us? Many of these fears are unjustified, but felt universally.
We freshman will experience awful things. We’ll get lost, we’ll fail, and maybe someone will realize their roommate has killed their pet fish. In these moments, remember, all freshman are in this together. Eventually,
this sense of unity will help us adjust.