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First Year Fears and How to Face Them

September 20, 2017
Students Dining in Washakie Center
Meeting other students and learning where to sit in Washakie Center helped SER Student Ambassador Sam Stein adjust to college life.

By: Sam Stein

I remember my freshman year like it was yesterday. It was hot outside and my parents had dropped me off in front of my dorm room after a final farewell lunch. I was in a town that I had only been to twice in my entire life where I only knew two people from high school who I had never really been best friends with, but, I had chosen this life and it was time to take my first few steps into the adult world. It only took me two weeks and some help from my new friends for me to figure out how to do laundry, where the best places to sit in Washakie were, and how to properly watch Netflix while doing homework in a cramped dorm. All of this was happening in a massive whirlwind of chaos that went by so fast I didn’t have time to blink or worry about the dreaded freshman fifteen, but now that I’m a little older and have finally figured out how to cook pasta without my mom’s help, I can look back on that year and give a little advice to anyone who might be struggling a bit with the whole “adulting” thing. Here is a list of my top five freshman fears and how to face them!

Making friends

Now, if you’re like me and literally didn’t know anyone, the best way to make friends is to be brave and go up to someone who also looks lost amongst the crowd. Everyone is nervous their first year and isn’t quite sure how to navigate making friends in a sea of several thousand fish. Just ask if they want to eat with you, maybe even give throw out a random comment or compliment while they are getting their salad (you hate tomatoes on yours, too.) If you already have a group of friends, I highly encourage you to branch out and make new ones! Ask someone who might be sitting alone to come join you, it will make their day and make them feel welcome in a new town.

Getting to know your instructors

The best way to get a leg up in any class (especially the ones you might struggle with) is getting to know your professors. I’ve yet to encounter a mean or scary professor, and even though going to office hours or talking to them before or after class might sound embarrassing or intimidating, I promise that they truly enjoy talking to their students and helping them when they are struggling. They appreciate your effort and hard work and this could definitely pay off when final grades are due, or even in the future when you are looking for a job. Remember, these people are professionals that have a lifetime of experience under their belts. So never be afraid to ask them for advice.

Make sure you know other people in your major

This one is obvious. Who better to talk to or collaborate with than someone in your major? Sure, maybe some of them are super smart and seem to know everything (the best people to study with honestly,) but some of you might not be quite sure what is going on and need to debate over some work that the professor gave you (also a great way to study.) It’s also a great idea to ask the older students about classes or professors that are more difficult or require more study time. But, in the long run, these will be the classmates that you will end up seeing every day and may even become lifelong friends with. Only students in the School of Energy Resources know what it’s like to be in this program, so if you are ever confused, frustrated, or super happy you passed that exam, these are the best people to go to because they know exactly how it feels since we all have the same classes and professors.

Getting involved

Yikes. “Getting involved” was probably my least favorite thing to be told to do when it came to any kind of RSO or student organization. I would roll my eyes every time someone brought it up because why on earth would I want to add another thing to my to-do list when I could go home a binge watch Netflix; besides, I didn’t know any of those people so why would I go? I finally saw the light when one of my friends started dragging me to our student chapter meetings. To my annoyance and surprise, they weren’t as awful as I had imagined. In fact, they were pretty fun and I was actually learning about information that pertained to my degree. I ended up making a lot of friends in my program and even became a student officer so that I could help others make friends and have a good time while learning about their industry. My advice? Just do it! It’s a great way to make friends in your degree and be around people who enjoy the same things as you. (P.S. It also looks great on your resume!)

Getting organized

If I’m being honest, this isn’t actually one of my fears since I love being organized (I color-code my closet,) but I noticed this was a common struggle with a lot of my friends when they were trying to get into the flow of being an unsupervised college student. They had messed up sleep schedules, couldn’t figure out the best times to eat between classes, and could hardly figure out time to study while attempting to have a social life. This lack of organization wreaked havoc on their grades and they were always scrambling to catch up. Now don’t freak out on me, I promise this is a lot easier to figure out than you think. Get yourself a planner, not a small planner you can’t write anything in, but a big planner that has the month and the weeks laid out so that you can write all of your homework down along with your other obligations be them academic or not. This helps you lay out the times you will be home, how much time you have to eat, and can even help you plan on when you can go to bed and wake up. Once my friends started doing this they were so relieved and didn’t have to freak out about finding time to study or hang out with friends.

Remember, this list is pretty generic for anyone who is entering college or maybe even still has a few fears after being here while, but just remember that you’re surrounded by good company and that we are all still trying to figure out life. Be brave and bold and take your first few steps into your new life and bring all the energy and excitement you can. Don’t feel defeated if you bomb an exam (we’ve all done it), work hard, live your life, and face your fears!

If you have any fears that are not listed above, leave us a comment if you need some advice, or even give us some advice of your own on how to conquer them!


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School of Energy Resources

Pam Henderson

Coordinator, Student Advising

Dept 3012 1000 E University Ave

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-6879

Fax: 307-766-6701

Email: pamelah@uwyo.edu

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