Dodging the Bullet: Turning Fears into First-Year Goals
By Phoebe Doscher, Contributing Writer
As an incoming college first-year, it’s impossible to entirely dictate how my ﬁrst year of school will turn out. Truth is, I’ve been trying to mufﬂe my constant nervousness with excitement and anticipation for a fresh start. One thing I have realized I can do to prepare for this huge transition is to think about my goals for the year.
But rather than create a laundry list of my hopes and dreams for college life, I have compiled a list of achievable, easy goals that will make me feel accomplished and satisﬁed at my growth by the end of the school year. Even though I cannot foresee how these goals will actually turn out, at least I have channelled my worries into hopes and aspirations for the coming year.
One of the most common phrases I hear as an incoming college first-year is “Watch out for the Freshman 15.” Instead of succumbing to the myth that I am going to gain a whole ﬁfteen pounds my first year, my ﬁrst goal is to reinvent my now college-aged self by making healthier choices.
Rather than getting into the habit of automatically reverting to junk food as my main source of nourishment or simply eating my stresses away, I will allow college to be a transformative time period. The transition to a home away from home, a new school year, and new friends all culminate in a fresh start, beginning with me learning to say the word “no” to foods that I do not need to eat.
Not only will the change in diet and mindset be beneﬁcial for my physical features, but I will also have more energy, improved conﬁdence, and will in turn hopefully become a stronger, more attentive student, which is just what I need to succeed in academics at the undergraduate level for the ﬁrst time in my life.
Another common anxiety with entering college is the change of speed in the classroom. A goal of mine is to do well in school and strive to the best of my abilities to keep up in my college courses.
I anticipate that the college experience will be miles different from the high school one, especially now that I am able to hone in on the subjects I am most passionate about. I chose my classes based on the topics in high school that particularly intrigued me, so I am ready to enjoy soaking up new information about riveting topics.
Rather than going into college with the intention of studying all day and night and worrying solely about grades and classes, though, my goal is simply to appreciate the learning process and intriguing courses that were never available at the high school level.
Now that high school life has come to an end, so has life at home with my parents, so I have made it a goal to learn to track my expenses and stay on top of my own bank account.
Sure, the food swipe system at college makes it easy for me to not handle money and constantly check my diminishing bank account balance, but in other ways, especially when going off campus, I will not have the constant ﬂow of $20 bills from my parents’ wallets to sustain my everyday spending.
I must now start to learn how to save my money, bargain, and when needed, deposit or withdraw cash to and from my account. I plan to take charge and start to organize my expenses and savings on my own as I enter the real world without my parents’ constant supervision.
Although entering college as a first-year can be daunting, a positive mind about this fresh start can make all the difference. I was able to turn my worries into goals for the future, which made me more excited about speciﬁc aspects of college life.
Editor’s Note: This article is the fourth of the 2018 edition of our series “Dodging the Bullet: The First Year Journal,” in which The Gettysburgian‘s staff members from the Class of 2022 share stories, reflections, and perspective on their first year experience. You can read the full series here as well as 2017-18 stories here. (-B. Pontz)