Dodging the Bullet: Three Emotions Every College Freshman Feels Before Move-in Day

Taylor Russo feels mixed emotions about heading off to college (Photos by Taylor Russo)

Taylor Russo feels mixed emotions about heading off to college (Photos by Taylor Russo)

By Taylor Russo, Contributing Writer

One of the biggest days is approaching for college freshman around the country: Move-In Day.

A day that most prospective college students dream about or envision years prior to its arrival. A day that is projected through all walks of media: movies, TV shows, magazines, posters, and more.

What are not anticipated are the feelings that most students have as the day approaches. For many, this is the first time they will live away from home, leaving behind a familiar lifestyle for a new, unfamiliar, and surprising environment.

As a college freshman, I will shed some light on the reality of this new adventure.


Anxiety is one of the most common feelings a college freshman experiences prior to their adjustment on campus. Whether it’s not knowing what to bring, overthinking your packing, who your new best friends will be, how to get involved, or what’s your mailbox address, anxiety fills our minds whether we are excited or nervous.

The fears sometimes overwhelm us. Despite all the information we are given from our college, we still will not know the reality until we are on campus.

Our worries can be overwhelming. Deadlines approach and our days seem to get shorter. Anxiety plays an increasing role as the countdown comes to an end.


Sadness becomes more common as the countdown closes in. Once committed to a college, we feel almost invincible knowing we are locked in but naïve of how fast time starts to fly once we make that decision.

As Snapchat and Instagram messages start to display captions of “it’s a see you later not a goodbye” and “good luck in college,” the mood of the summer starts shifting to sadness.

The reality sets in that everyone you are familiar with is splitting up and high school is over. Feelings of loneliness and homesickness start to surface. While it is only temporary, it is still something that consumes our thoughts.


One of the last driving emotions is excitement. Most of the time, and in my case, freshmen choose their campus and are excited to get into their new “home.”

After going through the stressful process of college applications and finally deciding on the place to complete four years, chances are most students are comfortable and happy with their decision. Excitement surrounds the ideas of decorating a dorm room, joining clubs or organizations, and starting classes that are finally of interest.

At the end of the day, this is the time to get away from a lifestyle of living with your parents. Venture off, define yourself, accomplish personal goals, make a difference, and experience everything that was built up in your head from movies, TV shows, magazines, friends, posters, and more.

There will always be different emotions that fill up such a momentous occasion, regardless of how much we mentally prepare ourselves. It is important we remember to let the excitement win over and just live in the moment.

All in all, college is daunting. The idea is probably one that has been built up since middle school. I personally believe that it is difficult due to the individual anticipation, messages in media, and from shared experiences and stories from family and friends.

I would imagine that everyone experiences the same feelings whether they are moving ten minutes away or across the country. New is new. College is a guaranteed adventure.

Later in life, we are sure to remember these emotions when reflecting the life-long memories made while experiencing this journey.

Editor’s Note: This article is the fifth 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)

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Author: Taylor Jo Russo

Taylor (Taylor-Jo) Russo '22 is a staff writer for The Gettysburgian who writes primarily for the features section where she covers current events, discussions, and more. She is from Princeton, New Jersey and loves going on adventures and trying new things. She is majoring in Psychology and Philosophy and minoring in Economics. Follow her on Instagram @taylorjorusso.

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1 Comment

  1. Oh, I remember when I was a freshman, those were the days. I wish I could go back even tho it wasn’t easy at first it was really fun.

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