Dodging the Bullet: Surviving the Pre-college Chaos
By Carlee Mayo, Contributing Writer
Ah, it’s that time of year again. The days are getting shorter, parents are relieved to be sending their kids back to school, and college first-years across the globe are running around like headless chickens.
Okay, so that could be a bit of an exaggeration, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that the average college first-year is just a tad stressed right about now.
Between packing and preparing to live in a dorm on their own for the first time, getting in touch with their roommate, thinking about what clubs and activities they want to be a part of and worrying about the classes they’ll be taking, the weeks before move-in day can be hectic and a little scary for us “freshies.”
Clearly, the transition from high school to college is pretty notable in a teen’s life. Take, for example, the first item I listed: living in a dorm. Wowie, will that be interesting!
I’m sure my outlook on college living will be completely different a year from now, but that’s exactly what I’m talking about: all of this is completely new – it’s the great unknown. Exciting, intriguing, and just a smidge scary.
The pre-college chaos varies from person to person. I, for one, am wondering whether I’ll adjust well to “adulting” completely on my own for the first time in my life. Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself staring down at the ever-growing pile of stuff I plan to take with me and wondering for the umpteenth time, “Do I have everything I need?”
Remembering items you need at the last minute can be stressful, too. I just remembered that I’m going to need a bathrobe (duh!) a few days ago and hopped on Amazon immediately to check out what they had. (Thank God for 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime!) But this eleventh-hour discovery of something important I forgot makes me worry, too, because it makes me think I’m probably forgetting other important things as well.
Something I’ve found to help soothe my anxieties is honestly just keeping myself busy – very busy. For example, this week (the week before I move in to my dorm), I spent five of the seven days out of state and the other two days thrift-shopping, volunteering at my local nursing home, and seeing a musical. With that much stuff in my schedule, I don’t have the time to be worried!
Don’t get me wrong – I am so, so very excited for school. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited in my entire life. But as it is, change can be scary. Even good change. So this is to all my fellow college first-years out there: try to stay sane amidst the pre-college chaos, because we are going to have the time of our lives.
Editor’s Note: This article is the first 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)