By: Lime Green Giraffe Webmaster, Meghan K. 

Many weird things happened to me in sixth grade: I joined a robotics team; I became immensely boy-crazy; I decided that shouting “Muffins!” at people and consuming copious quantities of sugar water was absolutely a good way for me to make friends. But I think the weirdest thing was that the non-parent adults in my life, who had mostly been asking me “How’s school going?” or, “What’s the capital of Arkansas?” or, “Are you ready for summer?” for the past five years, started asking me a new question:” Where are you going to college?” 
It wasn’t always those words exactly—sometimes it was different permutations, like, “Have you started thinking about college yet?” or, “Better start thinking about it now, college will be here before you know it!” or, “Gotta make sure you get those good grades so that you can get into a good college!”—but the wording didn’t really matter. It was all the same idea: even though I wasn’t even in high school yet, I had to start preparing for college. 
To sixth grade me, college seemed as distant as retirement, so all this fuss was intimidating. Was it really going to be that hard to get into college? Did I really need to start preparing for it in middle school? Was it weird that I didn’t have the rest of my life planned out yet? Did everyone else have it all figured out already? Was I behind? So, overwhelmed by all these questions that no one seemed able to answer, I did what any sane and rational person would do and buried my head in the sand, determined to ignore the very idea of college for as long as I possibly could.  
It turns out that “as long as I possibly could” was from sixth grade till eleventh grade, when I started seriously looking at colleges and took a tour of University of Toronto last November. When I actually started to explore college and look at what all was really involved, I realized that I’d been making it out to be way scarier than it actually was. Yeah, it’s a big deal, and yeah, senior year is going to be seriously stressful, but you don’t have to pull down the moon and stars and hand them to the admissions office on a silver platter to get accepted. So here are a few tips to help with the anxiety that always seems to come along whenever you bring up college.  

  1. Take a deep breath. I’m not going to deny that the idea of college can be incredibly overwhelming; in fact, I encourage you to acknowledge that. It’s okay to feel completely and utterly lost when it comes to all this college stuff; there’s a lot of information out there. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, step back and take a deep breath; it’s going to be okay. 
  2. Look at what’s making you anxious about college. Are you worried you won’t have the grades to get into your dream college? Maybe you’re scared you’ll forget about the application deadline and not have everything together in time. You may even be intimidated by the idea of moving away from family and friends. When you know what about college is anxiety-inducing for you, you can start working to fix it. 
  3. Get informed. A lot of the anxiety that comes about when you’re dealing with college stuff comes from a lack of information. So, do a little research about the colleges that you’re interested in—and if you don’t have anywhere in mind just yet, try looking at a few local colleges to get some ideas.
  4. Talk to someone who’s already done it. This can be your parents, an older friend, or someone who leads one of your favourite activities. Sit down with them, outline your concerns, and ask about their experiences in college. Someone who’s already been there can help you see things differently and maybe even get excited about going! 
  5. Get organized. If your biggest concern is not having everything in order by the time you need to get your applications in, make a list of the colleges you want to apply to and all the things you need to send them. Once you have this list, you can start working on getting everything together so that it’s all right there when you need it. 
  6. Take a tour or two. Sometimes it just takes making college a little bit less foreign and a little bit more familiar to ease the anxiety; if you can take a tour of some of the places you’re interested in, go for it. 
  7. Start stockpiling skills. If you’re thinking of living in a place where you won’t have access to a dining hall, start learning to cook; if you’re thinking of going to school in a place where you’ll need a car, work on your driving skills if you haven’t already; if staying on top of school is difficult for you, start looking for new ways to stay organized. Basically, start developing your “adulting” skills; you may find a few new hobbies and you’ll also find college a lot easier. 
  8. Take a break. While I don’t recommend that you completely bury your head in the sand for four years like I did, your life doesn’t have to be all college stuff all the time. If you find yourself completely overwhelmed and swamped, step back from what you’re doing, take some time for yourself, and come back later with a fresh mind. 
  9. Remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out now. You’re not weird for not knowing your major however many years in advance; you’re not weird for not knowing where you’re going to go; and you’re certainly not weird for being nervous about college. As long as you remember to take things one step at a time, you’ll be just fine.
Going to college can be an incredibly intimidating concept, regardless of how close you are to getting there. It’s okay to be intimidated and it’s okay to be scared. College is a major life step because suddenly it’s you and not your parents controlling your life. But if you figure out what you need to do beforehand, start working towards being ready, and practice some self-care (because self-care is super important!), you may find yourself a little more comfortable; maybe you might even feel kind of excited about going to college. 
Good luck! I believe in you. 

No comments:

Post a Comment