A Different View: Anxiety common for new students

By Tom Scully

For many freshmen, the summer months included the normal fun and relaxation of many past ones. Yet as we tore off a page on the calendar and the weeks until our first day as college students dwindled, a sense of unease began to envelop us. For some, even freshmen orientation, though exciting, left us feeling worried, even anxious about our life at Rider. For the first time in our lives, we realized our future is in our hands, and some of us suffer doubts about whether or not we are even up to the task. This is all symptomatic of freshman anxiety, and it’s about as common and as dreaded as the Freshman 15.

Most freshmen are bombarded with a plethora of new experiences. These experiences will, more often than not, cause some to become very anxious. We may start to ask ourselves frightening and sometimes irrational questions. Is college for me? What is my purpose here? The tritely formulaic response would be “in order to get a good education.”

College marks many firsts for freshmen. It is the first time we are really thinking about our future careers and the time we’re trying to figure out life and our role in it. Some of us may feel somewhat lost and overwhelmed now that we’ve entered a new life at Rider. Many may be living away from home for the first time and most times it’s our first time having a roommate. It is not a cause for concern; it’s more healthy to have these whirlwinds of tumultuous emotions than not to.

Students have a great deal of downtime on their hands, which, while greatly liberating from the strict regimen of high school, can also pose a problem in the form of procrastination. For a lot of freshmen, one of the greatest worries is simply finding the right way to balance a social life and school. The best thing about college is that Rider’s students come from diverse backgrounds and together form the tapestry of our community.

Students may suddenly feel dwarfed by the magnitude of opportunities and incredible career connections that Rider provides. Many first-time students will actually feel a sense of intimidation when looking across the classroom and watching their professor lecture. A lot of us will muse about our status in society for the first time, and look at our professors as symbols of success. This can also motivate us to get involved and work on our study habits.

Anxiety affects all of us in unpleasant ways. We should do ourselves a favor and not dwell on it. The first semester is always a transition, but for the most part it is downhill from there, even if some students may feel miles from it now. A great deal of us are going through the most exciting and tumultuous time of upheaval in our young lives. Getting adequate exercise, involving yourself in activities on campus and, most importantly, sitting down one-on-one and communicating with your professors are all excellent ways of alleviating stress.

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