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How can I find confidence as an aspiring college student?

I am 20-years-old and college bound. I am anxious about starting college because of all the complexities, like financial aid, but also balancing my mental health and my passions and financial stability. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Paul’s Answer

Campus Navigation is the key, in my opinion.

Most students arrive on campus completely lost, and are unable to find any of the resources they need to achieve success in the college academic environment.

Visit the campus, obtain maps, get an orientation regarding where your classrooms are, where to find the best parking, student activities, sports events, financial aid offices, professor and advisor offices, student life and dorm locations..etc

The better you know campus, and become fluent as to where to find things, the more confident you will be when you encounter adversity.
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Eric’s Answer

Embrace the fact that everything may not be perfect. The first year is often a whirlwind period where you begin to truly understand your desires and the type of individual you aspire to be. Juggling academics, mental wellness, sleep, and social activities can sometimes be challenging, but remember, it's completely fine!
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Chinyere’s Answer

Hello Caralyn,

Embark on this exciting new journey with confidence and determination. Remember that every step you take is a valuable opportunity for growth and self-discovery. These suggestions below might guide you through your journey.

1. Educate yourself: Take the time to research and understand the college application process, financial aid options, and resources available to you as a college student. Knowledge is power, and feeling informed can help alleviate some anxiety.

2. Seek support: Reach out to current college students, alumni, or college counselors for guidance and support. They can provide valuable insights and advice based on their own experiences.

3. Set realistic expectations: Understand that it's okay to feel overwhelmed at times, but also remember that many others have successfully navigated through similar challenges.

4. Focus on self-care: Prioritize your mental health by practicing self-care activities such as meditation, exercise, or hobbies that bring you joy.

5. Pursue your passions: Find ways to engage in activities that align with your interests while in college. This will help you find a sense of purpose and fulfillment amidst the academic demands.

6. Build a support network: Surround yourself with friends, family members, or mentors who can offer encouragement and understanding during this transitional period.

7. Budget wisely: Take control of your finances by creating a budget plan that includes expenses for tuition, books, living costs, etc., while also exploring potential scholarships or part-time job opportunities.

8. Stay positive: Believe in yourself and focus on the potential opportunities that lie ahead in your college journey rather than dwelling on fears or uncertainties.

Don't hesitate to ask for help along the way, as seeking assistance is not a sign of weakness but rather a testament to your strength and openness. Embrace each moment, taking things one step at a time, knowing that you have the power within you to overcome any challenges that may arise. You are capable, resilient, and ready to embrace this new chapter in your life with grace and resilience.


Best wishes.
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Carrie’s Answer

It is very common for the feelings of anxiety to come in when getting ready for college! So many students have the same feelings and sometimes it may feel like you are all alone, however, you are not!

It may be beneficial to look at tackling one challenge at a time when it comes to the technical aspects of going to school, such as financial aid. You may want to look at scholarship opportunities or grants that are available if FAFSA is not an option. Limiting the amount of classes taken at one time and going part-time could potentially save money while you can work at the same time.

Some campuses offer mental health clinics where you can talk to a certified specialist on campus. This may be helpful for students who may struggle with their mental health during school! Never be afraid to ask for resources from your university, as they can be fairly connected to local and state resources! If you are staying on campus in a dorm room, connect with your RA to see if they have any knowledge of resources or may be willing to assist with academic or other mentoring services!

College can be overwhelming but taking things one step at a time and reaching out for help can give you the assistance you need! You are more capable than you may give yourself credit for!
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Amber’s Answer

Hi Caralyn,

The answers already submitted are all excellent and will lead you down the right path. I only want to add to them some perspective. College is more like a marathon than a sprint. You need to pace yourself. The most important thing in all of it, is to not give up. Earning a degree is not just about what you learned in your classes; it is just as much showing that you can persevere in an environment that is difficult to navigate, will throw many roadblocks in your path, and will bring about stress and opportunities for distraction. If you want to hear an expert opinion on success, read "Grit", by Angela Duckworth. Don't give up on yourself no matter what!

-Amber
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Karissa’s Answer

You do not have to pick a major until the second semester of your sophomore year. In your freshman year focus on Math, Science, Social Studies and English.

Karissa recommends the following next steps:

Find your colleges catalogue online and read through all the academic programs.
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