As we approach a brand new semester, you might have some concerns about returning to school, whether you’re starting up this month or are thinking about doing so in the near future. I know how scary it can be for students to go to college, but I have seen so many students overcome big obstacles that I know almost anyone can do it.
Let’s face your fears head on. Here are a few common anxieties that I often hear from new students, and some ideas on how to outsmart those fears:
‘School has never been my strong suit.’
This doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Many students who struggled when they were younger find they are far better students with a little real-world experience. You may need to take a developmental class to get up to speed on certain subjects. You may need the help of tutoring services, a learning lab, or other support services. That’s OK! Take advantage of the support services that are intended to help students of any ability level survive and thrive at college.
‘I don’t have a support system, and I’m not sure I can manage school on my own.’
Taking a big leap like going to college is nerve-racking, and especially if you’re going it alone. However, you’re NOT alone. You are surrounded by people who are also working toward a goal and have a variety of challenges facing them. With a little effort, you can find others in your same boat by joining student clubs or creating a study group. Plus, you can build a school support system by using the support services (e.g., tutoring or veteran services) and learning programs (e.g., the math lab or academic skills center), at your college. If you are worried, call up or visit those offices ahead of time and learn specifically how they can help you and what you need to do to best take advantage of their support. There are so many different college staff members who truly want to help you succeed. Reach out to them!
‘I can’t afford college.’
Sure, some colleges are expensive, but plenty of others are affordable. Your local community college offers you the opportunity to take general education classes at a significantly less expensive price than you will find at a private or public four-year school. At FRCC, our annual tuition and fees are 58 percent less than the average tuition and fees price at Colorado’s public four-year schools. If you came here for two years and then transferred, you could save more than $10,000. On top of that, financial aid is available, and most people are eligible for some type of aid.
‘I have no idea what I want to major in.’
That’s what college is for: to take classes, see what you like, and explore different fields of study. Sure, some people might head off to college with a clear-cut plan on what they want to do when they graduate, but many others need guidance and advice. Be sure to check out the career services office at your college as early as possible. At FRCC, we offer career counseling and assessment services to help students explore career possibilities, take a career assessment to identify their strengths and areas of interest, and more. For Colorado students, the College in Colorado website offers the Explore Careers tool to help students learn more about their interests and skills, browse careers, and build a career plan.
It isn’t unusual to feel nervous about going to college. If you’ve recently started college and are getting into the swing of things, what has helped you ease your worries the most?