This is my last semester at SLCC. I will be going to the U of U next fall, but I am afraid. I have been at SLCC for three years. I have pretty good grades, but I’m not sure I will do as well at a university. I will also be changing majors. I have a group of friends here but we will not be in the same classes up there. What can I do to calm my nerves?
Thank you,University anxiety
Think about this change in location as if you are going on vacation. When you plan a vacation, you pack your bags, decide on places you’d like to visit, take a plane or drive a car to your destination. You are so excited!
Then the real fun comes. The airport may lose your bags. You may find that your hotel room doesn’t look a bit like the one pictured online (plus it’s a thousand times smaller than you envisioned) and when you get to Disneyland; your first stop among many in California, you discover that you have to walk a long way to the front gate, stand in line for what seems like hours, and then again for each and every ride. It’s a good thing there’s a great Jacuzzi back at the hotel to relax in.
Are you still glad you came?
Going to the U (or other university after the SLCC scene) is somewhat like going on vacation. Some of your “nerve” stuff is merely your excitement for the adventure-what I call good stress. The negative stuff you experience, however, can be helpful to you too simply by moving yourself forward and not focusing on failure. Here are some tips I used to get through the first few weeks:
1. Get to class early. Find a seat where you’ll be comfortable. There’s nothing worse than getting to class right before it starts and finding out that the only seats left are the ones in the front row or that they’ve all been taken. If you’ve scheduled your classes within 10 minutes of each other expect to see your nerves flair up.
2. Remember that many of the classes at the U are larger in student size than those you’ve experienced at SLCC. For this reason, many of your teachers may not know you unless you make it a point to get to know them. Having a teacher you know is a great bonus when you are having trouble on an assignment.
3. Because class numbers are higher, (you are dealing with 3000-5000 level courses) expect the work to be harder, but don’t worry that you won’t be able to do the work. You’ve come this far and there’s nothing wrong with stretching a bit further and seeing what you can do.
4. Changing majors just means you’re more in line with your life’s work. I changed an English major to a communication major, and was glad I did. I minored in creative writing and was still able to keep my love for English intact.
5. Keep a good eye out for students who have the same interests as you-and even those who are quite different in personality. I had friends all across the spectrum, from teachers to students who were the same ages as my children.
Moving forward despite the fear will allow you to make even more friends and get the good grades you want.