Congratulations, you’re finally out of the house embarking on this crazy journey called college. You may feel excited about exploring your newfound independence, or maybe you’re absolutely terrified about being away from home. Maybe you’re nervous about entering the rigorous academic environment of college. Have no fear, these are all normal emotions to be feeling.
I remember my freshman year — which feels like a lifetime ago for this rising senior — questioning whether the combination of emotions I was experiencing were OK. I mean, I doubted whether it was normal not to know what exactly it was that I wanted to accomplish with my life? Was it normal to be nervous about my random roommate assignment?
I want you to know that it is perfectly normal and OK to experience these emotions. I’ve compiled a list of a few things that are completely OK to experience.
1. It’s OK to be unsure about your major.
I remember meeting at least 10 million biology majors who were convinced that they were going to be the next E.R. doctor on my first day of freshman year. Some of them are still on the pre-med track, while others decided that it wasn’t the best fit for them (and that’s perfectly OK, too). It’s normal to be unsure about what exactly you want to do with your life right now
2. It’s OK to not be best friends with your roommate.
For some odd reason, a lot of people think that you have to be best friends with your roommate to have a memorable and comfortable living arrangement when it’s just fine if you’re not. What’s most important is that you can respect one another’s space.
3. It’s OK to be nervous about making new friends.
Don’t be too preoccupied about saying the right thing or making new friends. It’s perfectly normal to be nervous. I know this is cheesy, but what’s more important is that you are true to yourself and your personality.
4. It’s OK to lock yourself out of your room.
The truth is that just about everyone in Mercer’s student body has at least one time accidentally locked themselves out of their room. Yes, it’s humiliating and you definitely don’t want to make a habit of it because that’s just annoying, but don’t worry about making this common mistake. That’s one of the reasons why we have RA’s!
5. It’s OK to be overwhelmed.
At this point, you’ve probably been handed a least a dozen free T-shirts and bags from different organizations. You have probably been persuaded to join ten different clubs or join a fraternity/sorority. Yeah, it’s very overwhelming to somebody who is already adapting to so much change already. Instead of getting overwhelmed just soak in all the attention because everyone is vying for it.
6. It’s OK to get lost.
You’re new and sometimes it happens. No fear, there’s tons of upperclassmen to help you find your way. Also, I would highly recommend visiting each of your classrooms on the eve of the fi rst day of classes so you don’t get lost.
7. It’s OK to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake.
Don’t take yourself too seriously! If you make a silly mistake, laugh it off. For example, one time in the cafeteria, I reached for a plate and ended up knocking a whole pile of clean silverware on the floor. It was an embarrassing moment that garnered a few curious stares, but I survived it.
8. It’s OK to eat at the cafeteria alone.
Honestly, no one is going to think you’re a loner if you chose to eat by yourself. Sometimes, we need to eat in solitude. But be careful not to close people off. Take a chance and sit by someone new.
9. It’s OK to go out of your comfort zone.
College is an exciting place filled with endless possibilities! Take a chance and do something adventurous. As long as it’s legal and safe, you’re good to go. Be responsible, and have fun.
Hope this helps. Best of luck.
A Mercer “Senior Citizen”
Senior shares sage advice for first-year students