Overcoming Your First Year Fears

Feeling nervous about starting college is not only normal, but a good sign that you are gearing up for, and are ready to take on new challenges.


The good news is that most of your fears will be put to rest during the first few weeks of term, and for those that linger there are ways of addressing them.

Common First Year Fears:

I don’t know anyone, and I’m terrible at making new friends.

Firstly, you are not alone – the majority of first years are new and don’t know anyone else either. Creating a new network of college friends can be challenging , which is why you need to be proactive and make the effort to meet new people:

  • Attend orientation, not only will it prepare you for your first day of classes and how to navigate the college system, it’s also a great opportunity to meet other 1st years.
  • The first few weeks of classes are the best time to start making connections with other students – challenge yourself to exchanging phone numbers with at least one other student form each of your classes.
  • Greet and introduce yourself to the person you sit next to in your classes or labs.
  • Don’t always rush off immediately after class, have a cup of coffee or lunch with a classmate if you have the time.
  • Don’t wait to be invited / join the conversation / be introduced – take the first step.
I’m not academically cut out for college.

Without a doubt college will be more academically and creatively challenging than high school. Your workload will increase, assignments may be fewer but more demanding and will require your critical engagement with the subject matter. This does not however mean that you are doomed to struggle your way through the next three or four years.

It is common for student’s marks to drop a little from high school to college – this doesn’t mean that you are not coping or not cut out for college. What it does tell you is that you are transitioning to a more challenging educational environment with new and different demands.

I’m living away from home for the first time and I’m really going to miss my family / friends / boyfriend / girlfriend.

Homesickness is a common and normal 1st year experience. We will be providing tips on how to survive your first year away from home in an upcoming post.

I’m worried about my finances.

This is a very real concern for many college students, not just 1st years. College is expensive and the spending doesn’t stop at just paying the tuition fees. Knowing how to budget and manage your money is an important life skill, look out for the upcoming post on budgeting.

Another proactive way of dealing with financial worries is by getting a part-time job – visit the blog page at the top of this post titled: Casual and Part-time Work for more information on finding part-time work and how to balance work and studies.

I don’t know how to cook or do laundry.

The simplest solution to this problem is to ask someone to teach you / show you how to: plan and cook simple meals, operate a washing machine, buy the correct detergent / softener etc. This can be done before you leave for college, or if you’ve already arrived at college then now is a good time to start making friends with people who know how to do these things!

I’m terrible at managing my time, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to balance everything.

Time management and being self-directed are two major challenges most college students face when transitioning from high school to college. You will be able to find posts on time management already published on the blog and in upcoming posts, so be sure to visit the blog regularly or sign up to follow us; that way you won’t miss a post.

My lecturers scare me.

Approaching a lecturer may seem like yet another daunting college-related obstacle but you will find that Boston’s lecturers are actually very nice and approachable. Be sure to find out what your various lecturer’s consultation times are and where their offices are located on campus.  Make an appointment to see your lecturer if you are having problems with course content or struggling with an assignment, rather than hoping to catch him / her for an impromptu meeting after a class; that way you will both be prepared.

I am totally stressed out – I don’t think I can handle this!

You’re already in the right place, just by visiting this blog! The BMH Student Wellness Blog is here to provide you with information and assistance regarding a variety of relevant interpersonal and wellness topics. Spend some time scrolling through the blog or visit the Categories tab, on the right-hand side of the page, for a list of topics covered.

You can also visit the Need Help? page at the top of this post for a list of support services and material to help you with a variety issues.

Alternatively, Boston offers free counselling to all registered students – visit the Student Counselling page for more information on how to book a session with Boston’s counsellor.


Lucier, K.L. (2014). 15 Tips for Conquering Your College Freshman Fears. Retrieved from: http://collegelife.about.com/od/beforeyouarrive/qt/freshmanfears.htm  [Accessed on: 22 January 2016].

What to Expect from Uni Life. (2015). Retrieved from: http://www.gettingstarted.unsw.edu.au/what-expect-uni-life  [Accessed on: 22 January 2016].