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Pre-College Nerves

janetheplainjanetheplain Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
Hello, I'm having a issue and hoped that some of you could help. I just graduated high school, and decided shortly thereafter that I'm going to Duquesne University, one of my top picks. I was very happy and enthusiastic, and started to buy things for my dorm and looking at clubs. My exuberant mood lasted for a few weeks, but has recently disappeared. I thought I was ready to go to college in Pittsburgh (I live in Baltimore right now) but I now feel that I'm not ready. To put everything in context, I have never had an anxiety attack in my life, but have had several in the past week. I haven't gotten a good night sleep in nearly a week, and food looks dull and sickening. I'm overtired, miserable, and snappy. And I haven't even gotten to college yet.
I know pre-college nerves are totally normal (and to be expected) but I think mine are over the top. And before I made any rash decisions (I tend to when I'm overtired and not thinking straight) I would like to know what you all think of my dilemma.
Is going to Duquesne worth it at this rate? One one hand I have an academic scholarship and have already bought most of my dorm furniture. I worry that if I don't go I will regret that decision for the rest of my life. However, I worry about my mental health too, when I'm so far away from home. I don't want to get self destructive or have to depend on medicine to calm my nerves and help me sleep at night. I worry about self destructing from stress. On the other hand, there is a community college near my house that I could go to, that would be easier financially on my family. I've already been accepted there (and have taken classes before during my senior year of high school) and it would ease my current condition and I would be less likely to made self destructive decisions. However, everyone from my former high school goes there, and the academics are sub-par at best. What do you think I should do?
I appreciate any advice that you can give me. Thank you.

Replies to: Pre-College Nerves

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 4,785 Senior Member
    Just some thoughts:

    Some jitters are normal. When you arrive at Duquesne in September nearly all of the freshmen there will be nervous, and nearly all of them won't know anyone. This makes it much easier to make friends. Seek out other students like you who are nervous, quiet and shy and talk to them. Also note that a large part of the university will be set up specifically to help new incoming students find their way around.

    You might want to visit over the summer and look around. There are not likely to be many students there, but perhaps seeing the setting and the city will make you feel more comfortable with it. If you can arrange a tour this might help also (some universities give tours in the summer, some don't).

    Remember that when you are at Duquesne, your parents will only be about a 4 hour drive away, and can be there quickly if you need them. There are plenty of parents who have done a "short notice" 4 hour drive to go to visit their students at universities.

    You might want to see if you can get some counseling over the summer. Other students have had similar feelings and there should be counselors who have experience helping transitioning students feel more comfortable.

    You should talk to your parents about this. They will know you a lot better than folks on CC (although there are parents on CC who have dealt with similar feelings in their kids).

    And yes, the academics at Duquesne will be stronger than at your local community college.

    Finally, if I have gotten this far without misspelling "Duquesne", then I am quite amazed (maybe you can teach and old guy a new trick!).
  • shoot4moonshoot4moon Registered User Posts: 1,270 Senior Member
    DAdTwoGirls nailed it!!!! Are you the oldest? I would recommend that you talk to some kids a year ahead of you about their transition. Don't go by one person..ask a fair number. I think that you will see that jitters happen to everyone, and are to be expected. I remember attending freshman orientation with our daughter. There was a time where I was sitting on a bench, just watching freshmen walk by. Each and every one looked anxious!!! Talking about it with a trusted adult (not necessarily your parents) may also be helpful.
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 12,468 Forum Champion
    The real question is tf this is more than the normal college nerves...you will be living in a new place, with new teachers, new friends, new food, new place...so that causes most everyone a little anxiety.

    Remember that all the other students are in the same boat...they want to make new friends too. You will have an orientation that will introduce you to people and places at your new school.

    If you think this is more than the usual nerves, then ask your parents to let you talk to a therapist/psychiatrist about your anxiety. My daughter did this and now takes anti-anxiety medication.

    Also when you get to school, go over to the Counseling center and maybe make an appointment or see if they have a group for students with anxiety or homesickness.
  • NHufferNHuffer Forum Champion GWU Posts: 913 Forum Champion
    Lots of great advice in here. I'll echo a little of what was already said along with my own: this is a life-altering event. That's why you're nervous. A lot of things are changing all at once. However... this is a normal occurrence for a great number of people. It's ok to be nervous, but if you're suffering from panic attacks you should see a doctor. Further, the reason why I think you should bail on out-of-state school is that some day you're going to have to make a change in where you live. The sooner in life, the better, as you have fewer obligations. If nothing else, you'll be more flexible in the future so that if your employer needs you to relocate for whatever reason, it won't be an earth-shattering thing for you.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 8,575 Senior Member
    edited July 2017
    I think you are panicking and looking for a get out clause. You need to not succumb to panic. You need to understand that this is a big change, but it's a GOOD one. Go back and review all the reasons why you chose the college. Think about all the good things you will get out of the experieince. Think of how stagnant and same-y life is going to be if you just stay at home. You will absolutely regret it if you let this opportunity pass.

    I suggest you write out every single thing you are worried about. For every worry, write down a realistic rebuttal. "I will be homesick." "Everyone will be homesick, and it isn't permananent, and I will be seeing my parents/dog/sister in eight weeks, which will fly by, because I will be very busy." "What if I fail?" "If I try, I am unlikely to fail. Most kids don't fail. I was accepted to this university, so they also believe I won't fail" And so on. Address every concern you have, and figure out why it's it irrational, or unlikely. Tens of thousands of students go away to college every year. The overwhelming majority succeed.

    My daughter was both excited and nervous before leaving for college last year. She had a meltdown similar to what you describe, a couple of weeks before she left. Yes, she did initally have a hard time settling in. But she did it. I have many friends with kids who started college last year. Every single one of them had some kind of issue. Some had a harder time than others. But they all got through it. There will be some things in life you just have to get through, and this is one of them. By Thanksgiving time, my daughter was having fun and had a bunch of different friends. Would she trade two months of tough times for the rest of the college year and the great friends she has made, along with getting an education? I can tell you she will say "no way."

    In some ways, it's great that you are getting this out of your system now. I suspect you were perhaps jumping the gun a bit by buying all kinds of dorm stuff when you only just graduated high school, but it's done now. Confront the fears, and find practical and rational ways to address them. As soon as you arrive on campus, sign up for counseling, which will be provided free of charge at your college. See a counselor for,the first couple of months, because it will help you get through rocky times. If you wait, you might have to wait a long time for an appointment.

    Meanwhile, practice deep breathing. You can google it. It works, and you can use it any time you begin to feel panicky. Keep some lavender cotton balls in a ziploc and smell them whenever you feel panicky too, they help and even hospitals now routinely give them to patients about to undergo surgery. And yes, a few sessions with a therapist might be helpful too. But do not succumb to irrational panic and decide not to go to college. You have to be stronger than your fears or you might never have the strength to confront them. That's not the way to start adult life.

  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 7,536 Senior Member
    Here's the thing: All anyone is asking is that you TRY going to Duquesne. It's not a lifetime commitment, it's not a 4 year commitment. Worse case scenario, it's not even a semester's commitment. It's just a commitment to give it a try.

    You may find out that you hate it. OK, fine. You can always transfer to a school closer to home, or to a smaller school or to some other type of school. Lots of kids transfer from the first school they attend.

    But what if you love it? What if it's life changing?

    Wouldn't you hate to spend the rest of your life wondering which it was?

    Do you think working with a therapist would help? Ask your parents to take a look at their insurance; you may find that you can get a counselor for a minor copay each week. Sometimes it's easier to talk about our fears and anxieties with someone a bit more removed than mom and dad.
  • conceptcatconceptcat Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    Absolutely agree. Try it out, get connected with mental health services ASAP. I'd personally do short term therapy before anything else.. short term was free where I went and you may not need long term and may not need meds.

    A-Ha was right all the way back in the 1980s: "say after me, it's no better to be safe than sorry" https://youtu.be/djV11Xbc914

    This could be a huge turning point in your life. Absolutely worth some fear - and there are people out there whose job it is to help you if it gets a bit overwhelming :)
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