Whaaat? An article about summer nerves that isn’t targeted to pre-freshmen? That’s right. While it may be less common, it is still important to validate the feelings of rising sophomores, juniors, and even seniors who are currently getting anxious as their move-in days approach. Personally, I am a rising sophomore and I’m a bit nervous about going back to the fast-paced, labor intensive, and social atmosphere of college. If you are in my position, it is important to remember that these feelings are normal and they don’t need to take over your college experience.
Summer nerves are not necessarily a reflection of your school. In other words, don’t overwhelm yourself with the idea that your school is not the right fit or the idea that you should have transferred when you had the chance. In some cases, transferring is an option, but don’t come to that conclusion solely based on the fact that you are nervous to go back. Correlation does not mean causation, prospies! I simultaneously love my school and love the fact that it’s still a few weeks away. You don’t need to be dying to go back, counting down the days until you can return to midnight take-out (and if you are dying to go back, great for you!). I assure you that returning to school stirs up a complicated mix of emotions for just about everyone. You are not alone.
Pre-school jitters can be caused by a variety of stressors. If you have any form of social anxiety (or even if you don’t!), college (and particularly dorm living) can be stressful because you are constantly surrounded by people and it is hard to find time alone. A preference for privacy or solitude is not something that would just disappear after a year of college, so don’t be surprised if this is a reoccurring worry for you each summer before school. My advice would be to embrace the lack of privacy and alone time (sounds ludicrous, right?). This is potentially the only time in your life where you’ll be living with dozens of other people your age. Every time someone knocks on your door, instead of becoming tense, take a moment to pat yourself on the back – you are just such an awesome human being that people can’t wait to hang out with you (modesty will wait for now). But in all seriousness, try not to panic. Get out of the dorms here and there to get a break from the constant socializing. Start a journal. Writing down intimate thoughts can be a healthy way to foster a sense of privacy and separation from the rest of the world.
The collegiate environment can be a (harsh) reminder that you are getting older and it is almost time for you to be brilliant and hard-working in a career – that you have to choose (*cries*). I know I’m certainly nervous about this aspect. It turns out college isn’t just about using red solo cups and sleeping until noon. Classes alone are difficult, but to know that your future depends on these classes is downright cruel. Mostly I just worry that I won’t be able to afford my ideally lavish lifestyle of sushi rolls and fancy Voss water that tastes just like the kind out of my tap. How to handle it? Don’t overwork yourself. Set reasonable expectations and allow yourself to be imperfect. Join organizations you love on campus, so that you don’t just associate college with no sleep and long papers.
College is fast-paced – doesn’t it just fly by? The worst part is that there is this pressure for it to be the best thing since Netflix since everyone is telling you that it’s “the best four years of your life.” Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the idea that I’m supposed to be making every second count and there’s only so many times I can hear the phrase “YOLO.”
Here’s my advice: make a bucket list. It sounds cheesy, but it allows you to take control and balance between just hanging in the dorms and occasionally doing something extraordinary. And document your life! Make a quote book or a video montage of moments from school. Lastly, if you can’t imagine these being the best years of your life, don’t worry about it. Something tells me you can’t force that kind of thing anyway.
College is hard…and a tad bit scary, but that doesn’t diminish the beauty of newfound freedom, roomie love, and midnight snacks. Stay positive, prospies. It’ll all work out.