Freshman fears and how to overcome them

Brooke Salamone

As the new school year is rapidly entering midterm season , many college freshmen are adjusting to a new lifestyle on campus.

Whether we like to admit it or not, the transition from senior year of high school to freshman year of college is not always a piece of cake.

The beginning of college means the beginning of new responsibilities and a new sense of independence. While this transition might be scary, it is a completely normal to feeling be overwhelmed. You are not alone!

What are some of the most common fears attached with coming into college? What are some helpful ways to overcome them? Are your peers experiencing the same anxieties you are? Here is a feature on three common freshman fears shared by fellow Pace Students in addition to advice on how to overcome them over the course of your first year.

Fear 1: How will I be able to keep up with all my work? 

“One of my biggest fears of coming into college was that I was not going to be able to keep up with my work and that my classes were going to be too hard for me to handle,” shares University sophomore, Lauren Moser.

Possibly one of the biggest challenges in college is adjusting to the new workload. For most, getting rid of senioritis is the biggest challenge coming from high school. It is no shock that college means new responsibilities in regards to schoolwork, but it is totally normal to be nervous at first.

“I definitely was nervous to keep up with the course work,” shares University Sophomore, Emily Vagnone. “Coming from high school was a bit of a shock. I came from doing nothing senior year and transitioned into college and got a ton of work.”

What is the best way to handle the workload? It is different for every student, but the best advice is stay on top of your work! Develop a schedule for yourself that helps you organize and manage your time effectively. Time management is a key component for academic success.

“If you don’t have a routine where you know how to stay organized or just gather your schedule, you need to be organized,” shares Jen Crespo, Assistant Director of the Office for Student Success. “Everything is on you as opposed to when you’re in high school when your professors or teachers help you out and remind you of what is going on.”

DO NOT PROCRASTINATE! Procrastination can set you off schedule and create unneeded stress, stick to your routine work schedule.

“For me it was all about time management,” shares Vagnone. “I am a commuter student, so with the commute I had to find time to schedule my commute, do work, and keep myself on track.”

Take advantage of all that the University has to offer. If you feel you are struggling academically, talk to your professors or visit the Learning Center and Writing Center.

“I overcame my fear by staying on top of my work and taking advantage of all the resources the University offered such as the learning center,” says Moser. “For example, the Learning Center offers tutoring for all students in different subjects, and it helped me when I needed it most.”

Fear 2: How Will I Make New Friends? 

“Going into college, one of my biggest fears was making friends,” shares University senior, Jake Cameron. “Everyone and their mother always talk about how your friends in college are the ones you keep for the rest of your life, but that’s a lot of pressure.”

Perhaps one of the scariest things when entering college is making new friends. It’s best to remember that everyone is in the same boat as you, and you are not alone.

Put yourself out there. Join some clubs that you are interested in, attend on-campus events, or even sit next to someone new in the cafe and have dinner with them.

“I overcame my first fear by literally just meeting whoever,” voiced Cameron. “Recognize someone from orientation? Say hey! Met some random people in the cafe and they all want to go see the Highline? Go with them! Just literally by meeting new people and asking to hang out after the initial meeting allows you to create those relationships.”

Fear 3: How Do I Survive Coming from a Small Town to a Big City? 

“One of my biggest fears coming into Pace was coming from a small town and moving into a big city I wasn’t familiar with,” says Moser.

The University is unique in the location. New York City is your campus, and moving or commuting here, while amazing, can be pretty daunting.

“Moving to New York so young with no real plan on what exactly you’re doing is also just a crazy concept so that kept me nervous until I got to Pace,” shares Cameron.

What is the best way to get used to the city? Explore! Take classes that adventure out to museums and other sites in the city. Follow OrgSync for all events that are happening on campus and stay involved on campus whether you live on campus or commute.

“My fear of moving to the city slowly went away as I got familiar with the area and also other parts of the city,” shares Moser. “Traveling and exploring with friends made this fear slowly ease out and helped me learn to navigate the subway.”

The more exploring that you embark on the more you make of your journey. Take a walk to the seaport, or Battery Park. Join the RA’s when they do spontaneous day trips, and take in every opportunity the University has to offer!

Some Final Advice from Upperclassman and University Staff…

Never forget that you are not alone in the process of transitioning to school. It is the most exciting time of your life, so take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way.

“Getting connected is super important especially in the first 6 weeks,” shares Crespo. “It’s nice sometimes to have an office to go to like our office, The Office for Student Success. I always tell students if you should know an office it should be our office because we are like google or Siri and can connect you to wherever you need to go.”

Most importantly, be who you are and follow your heart.

“The advice I have for freshman is plain and simple; don’t sit around and wait for things to happen,” voices Cameron. “I love watching Netflix and taking naps as much as the next person, but you have no idea how much time you are blessed with to do stuff until it’s too late. Go out and make yourself happy, you’ll look back and not even realize how amazing it was until it’s almost over.”