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Incoming Freshman: Pre-arrival Anxiety?

dasdf321dasdf321 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
Hey all, so I'm going to be a freshman at Emory in less than two weeks and not until recently I've realized that I'm actually EXTREMELY nervous about making new friends and doing well during my first year. I'm already behind on course registration, connecting with new classmates, and looking for clubs, and I'm starting to question why Emory decided to even accept me in the first place :-S Anyone have any advice or dealing with the same thing?

Replies to: Incoming Freshman: Pre-arrival Anxiety?

  • aluminum_boataluminum_boat Registered User Posts: 1,539 Senior Member
    You'll be alright.
    I'm sure you've heard it a million times from friends and family, but it's true.

    No need to connect with classmates before setting foot on campus.... if that makes you uncomfortable. You've got four years... One month doesn't matter.

    My advice for dealing with this: Hang out with your high school friends as much as possible. Enjoy the moment because things change after you leave. I only talk to a few students from high school, and funnily enough, none of them were people I hung out with at all when I was growing up. Funny how that works.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,293 Senior Member
    @dasdf321‌ : What aluminum said is pretty much true. Things start to kind of happen organically. I was much less of a social butterfly in HS and middle school and then college was different. Social circles just kind of formed naturally and I did not "look for clubs" and stuff so much as stumble upon them and my interests. As for doing well; You'll likely find that academics at many colleges, including ones like Emory are relatively underwhelming and are in general very doable. While you may have a lower GPA than in HS, you will still probably do well if you are taking more or less standard courses and instructors. Really, there is a lot of choice in the system, and it can be both good and bad. If you are more concerned about primarily doing well on paper without feeling stressed or challenged, then there are many courses and instructors that provide that experience. If you are fine with being challenged or stressed academically from time to time, then there are instructors that will give you that. Those who want to optimize grades and learning will do a delicate balance of these scenarios, Less GPA centric students will oftenlean more to the latter route, and more GPA centric students that fear what being in a challenging environment may do to their grades, will lean heavily to the former. However, the idea is that the academic experience can be more or less controlled and tailored. The social experience is as well, but often you get the best experiences that seem "random" or "organic". Like I ended up with several social circles while at Emory (sometimes there was interaction between them and sometimes not).

    And how you behind on course registration? What does that mean? What course did you not get that you are so concerned about?
  • dasdf321dasdf321 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Thanks for your replies guys. I guess I'm nervous mainly because I have no idea what to expect haha. And @bernie12 I only signed up for 4 credit hours during preregistration (Math 112z and Bio 141 Lab). I also wanted to choose Chem 141, but that filled up on the first day, and I'm not sure how many spots they'll add during the second round of registration.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,293 Senior Member
    edited August 2014
    @dasdf321‌ : Again, they will add plenty and there will be shuffling of students such that you will also be able to land a top instructor like Mulford or McGill. What's your prospective major? I would also ask you to consider taking biology 240 if you have AP credit for 141, especially if you are considering biology, NBB, or pre-med. And no, it being 200 does not mean it is "hard". It's simply better and different I guess. Good prep for MCAT/GRE bio/biochem passages and not hard grading. Class is even better if considering graduate studies (you get to do a more "critical thinking" oriented course earlier in your college career as opposed to later or never).
  • dasdf321dasdf321 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    @bernie12 as of now I'm undecided but I'm definitely doing premed. And what does Bio 240 cover? I was hesitant on using my AP bio credit for 141 because I know a lot of med schools don't accept it.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,293 Senior Member
    edited August 2014
    A) Don't say you're definitely doing pre-med. Please keep an open mind about life, academics, and various healthcare professions.
    B)Be careful with the "med schools don't accept it" crap because you are taking the new MCAT which means that you will likely want to take Cell biology and biochemistry to do well anyway. Your behind is already covered by the fact that you must take 141-L regardless of if you take the lecture. The only difference is that you will couple it with 240 lecture and not 141 lecture. Med. schools won't care as long as you have an upper level course to compensate and that, cell biology, or biochem will be it. Worry about science (or even non-science) courses that will have instructors or styles that would give you the "competencies" needed to succeed on the new MCAT or any rigorous grad. school exam, or in a rigorous graduate program.
    C)Organismal form and function is very interesting in that it basically covers physiology of various organisms (plants, various animals, etc) in the context of ecology and evolution. What makes it relatively special is how it is taught and tested. It is typically taught in a problem based learning format where you receive exercises and problems to in class and the instructor gives feedback (this is much more effective at developing better scientific thinking skills than the standard lecture or lecture/socratic method hybrid you will get in most college science courses). The course mostly focuses on data analysis and experimental design and set-up. Instead of memorizing physiological systems, you need to understand how they work thoroughly to the point where you can predict how they would be altered in different scenarios. For example, an exam prompt would provide you data for two plants that provide information on.....plant dry mass in different habitats or locales. You would then be asked to explain the differences in the context of the physiology behind sugar and water transport in plants and then be asked follow-up questions on things like: "do plants display evidence for adaptation or acclimation when translocated to different habitats?"
    It is honestly very much like what a semi-challenging MCAT or GRE bio/biochem passage would be like (accept, they are not multiple choice, which makes them excellent preparation). You would not have seen the terms used in the data and the prelude information in your book, but if you studied well enough and participated in class activities, you should be able to infer what the data and passage is related to and formulate answers. The course is much better for someone who APed out of 141 than taking 141 lecture in my honest opinion. 141/142 have limited capacity to build such "inference" and data analysis skills. It largely depends on if the instructors are all using the case method which is far from guaranteed. It is honestly better to get started on thinking about biology the way classes like 240, 241, and Eisen's 250 course demand earlier rather than later. The new MCAT is supposedly even less content based than the current and just learning content will kill you if you decided to go to grad. school for biological sciences or anything (whether it's because the program encourages a GRE subject test or if only because graduate level courses are just generally more problem solving oriented in many programs).

    Yes, but I strongly recommend 240. I know at least 2-3 people who have done it with your exact same schedule and made A grades in it if that is your primary concern (but again, I would look at the learning benefit). Also, I know people (as in crap tons) that skipped over 141 and its lab, were biology majors that did not take an upperlevel teaching lab course, and they all got 2ndaries and interviews from every medical school they applied to. A lot of this fear mongering over what med. schools do not take, especially with regards to biology, is kind of crap. It is really even crap with regards to chemistry. Many students who took freshman ochem and then took say analytical w/lab ended up fine. They didn't have to take 2 advanced courses or go back and take gen. chem as many rumor spreaders had suggested.
  • llbrennerllbrenner Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    My daughter is an incoming freshman and she has been chatting with other newbies on FB, etc. She has a person or two who she wants to connect with when she gets there but my guess would be that her friends will be the people she meets in the first few weeks/months in her dorm, in classes, in activities, etc. None of that has started yet. She has a friend from high school who is going to Emory also and that girl has not gotten on FB once. I don't think you're behind at all-- everyone will be new and in the same boat you are. Regarding academics, I think Bernie's message to be open to new experiences is good advice. Hard to know coming out of high school what might light your fire and lots of people change their minds one or more times while in college. My own experience at a college similar to Emory was that the rigor of freshman academics was just one step beyond the level of difficulty in high school-- a step most are ready to take and are not overwhelmed by. They want you to succeed.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,293 Senior Member
    @llbrenner‌ : You mean: "they really aren't allowed to fail as many people as they should or want to because the admins will be on their behinds if they did" sort of "we want you to succeed". I'm sure many science instructors wish that they could actually have higher standards for intro. courses, but doing so incurs the risk of student resistance due to lower preparation levels than expected or simply because students are distracted/not really used to studying but so hard. If teaching an intro. course, giving tests and assignments that require too much beyond memorization or algorithmic problem solving (similar to HS) is like playing with fire now a-days. They make it challenging enough to get a reasonable grade distribution, but to also not frustrate students too much as a whole. Some intermediate and advanced courses can be completely different stories on the other hand as they tend to cater to more select crowds that are majoring in the discipline and can supposedly handle "applying" the material to new situations (however, one can also argue that many advanced and intermediate courses get watered down because too many people pass the intro. courses now). But anyway, let me not go there with that.
  • llbrennerllbrenner Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    I was a professor for part of my career and I liked teaching. That's why I did it-- I make more money now in the private sector so I certainly wasn't doing it for the bucks. I did dislike the "tell me what I need to know for the test" mentality but as a whole I thought my subject matter was fascinating and enjoyed trying to pass that information along to students. Idealistic maybe-- but I believe that most profs would like to find ways for their students to do well. Ditto administrators who would like students to succeed and go on to wonderful careers that reflect well on the institution.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,293 Senior Member
    @llbrenner: I think most professors love teaching and want students to do well, but now-a-days they would like to find a way to raise standards again while also having them do well (many would admit to this or admit to having lowered standards). That's what I am saying. I kind of don't blame the admins. I get that. It is just a matter of these students being less competent or more dependent than they could be because standards had to be lowered to get them there or because the career or professional school would not really tolerate them getting some C's every now and then (this is less a problem for workplaces where they can easily screen for this or just replace folks, but for professional schools, it means the less prepared/unable to think critically incoming classes have to be accommodated and thus a problem could be created there). In other words, a student's struggle is not allowed to be revealed on the transcript, so many professors just say: "Why bother challenging them the way I want at all, it will only make things harder for me". However, at Emory, luckily there are actually some excellent professors that buck this trend and do it successfully. They keep their standards high while also developing the students as they progress through the course to ensure that students get more out of it than being ticked off and then a higher grade handed out to them as a result of appeasement (there are still some courses that are challenging where a majority of students refuse to push themselves to the next level, so the course has to be curved to a B to ensure that even these students get a "decent" grade in the course. This sometimes happens even in cases where the instructor did lecture extremely well, enthusiastically, and gave them all the resources needed to go on and solve the harder problems). Sometimes, I just wonder where the line is between "helping us do well" and "pandering" to prevent widespread resistance. I am considering teaching, but would like to find ways to get students to do well in challenging situations. I would like to adopt pedagogical strategies that get go beyond just prepping students for extremely predictable tests that mainly test "facts" and their regurgitation or surface level comprehension of such facts.
  • bernie12bernie12 Registered User Posts: 5,293 Senior Member
    Note I speak from a science perspective here. I don't know how a social science or humanities course could be made challenging. I suppose standards for writing assignments could increase or there could be more frequent projects or writing assignments. Or maybe reading load could face accountability through intense classroom discussions. I remember some of my best instructors in such areas surprising us by randomly choosing a student to jump start discussion or by hosting a surprise debate and not making it a free for all but pitting two specific students (who were not expecting it) against each other. In other words, keeping students on their toes could make things more interesting in these courses without necessarily having to stop the grade inflation in such departments. The only difference is that students would then all deserve those high grades after having to be that engaged with the course.
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