This upcoming fall will mark the beginning of my junior year in college. However, I can remember my junior year of high school like it was just last week and sometimes I don’t feel like I’m halfway done with my undergraduate career.
When I graduated high school, friends already in college used to joke that I would be returning to my freshman year, becoming a baby once again. Although I had just completed a major milestone, I would be going from senior status to just another lowly freshman. This was funny, and, at the same time, unnerving as it meant I would be starting all over again. As a freshman in college you have to learn the ins and outs of your school, join clubs, make friends, and do everything a freshman in high school might have to do, but with some added pressure. These pressures might include moving away from home for the first time, moving to a different state, separating from your family, and holding yourself accountable for, well, yourself. Previously, I had relied on my parents to help me out. Even though I was at boarding school, they were only a few hours away and I knew if I needed anything, they’d be there. As a freshman in college, my parents were across the country and I had to rely on my strengths and my knowledge to fill in for them.
I remember being nervous about one thing in particular going into my freshman year: making friends. After getting to be so comfortable with my high school friends, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it all over again. However, I quickly found that everyone was feeling the same way. Everyone is worried about making friends as a freshman, but they shouldn’t be. It’s okay to feel nervous as long as you know everyone else is nervous, too. You’re going to meet a lot of people freshmen year and it’s going to take some time to figure out who is a real friend and who is just a placeholder. Take your time. I’m going into my junior year and I’m still making friends, it’s a process that just never stops. Don’t feel as though you’re locked into a friend group freshmen year, reach out and meet people from all different backgrounds. That’s what college is all about.
So, you’re about to be a freshman again. This time, however, things will be different. College isn’t high school, and I think everyone can appreciate the differences between the two. You will have more responsibility and it will be intimidating at first, but pretty soon you’ll come to appreciate your independence. You will meet lots of new people, some you will like and some you won’t. Take your time, go at your own pace, actively search out things that you enjoy, try new things, and enjoy the adventure that is college.