How to not be nervous for college (Tips)

In this guide, we will discuss “How to not be nervous for college” and we will also talk about a few tips that could be helpful when facing your first day of college. You will see how your jitters go away once you start to adjust and get used to having a routine.

How to not be nervous for college

If you wonder, ‘How to not be nervous for college’, it is likely that you may have been transitioning from school into studying a degree and feel completely nervous due to this abrupt change. We understand that with a new chapter in your life comes big responsibility. Now you have to become more independent, new friends, learning how to manage your schedule and even having the ability to decide whether or not to attend your classes.

However, there are certain things you need to know before your first day so you can start adapting much faster to this new environment. Let me tell you a story about my first day. I felt completely lost as if everyone knew I was new but it wasn’t like that at all. As we were getting the official welcome I felt I was in the wrong place. But I noticed in the crowd someone that was as clueless as me and when she smiled back at me I got the courage to ask her about how she was feeling. I remember I said something like ‘this is just too much’. She smiled again and answered ‘yes, but we will get used to it pretty soon’. 

How to not be nervous for college (Tips)

I thought to myself ‘this wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it would be’. We started chatting and after that day we became the best of friends, we got to graduate together and up until this day (10 years later) we are still friends. As soon as the first day finished, the first week and then my first year, I started to enjoy every single moment of the experience. So we are sure you could too.

Tip 1: talk to current students

I didn’t think about this one before my first day, I just threw myself into the unknown, but know that there are a lot of students that are willing to share their freshman stories and experiences. They can help you put things into perspective and realize there is nothing to be afraid of. There are many ways you can ask as many questions as you may have to old students, just check the website and look for student ambassadors or peer guides, we are sure they will be more than willing to help since they have been in your shoes before.

Tip 2: transform your nervous energy into excitement

We know this can be a confusing tip because who would feel excitement if they are feeling nervous? Well, there is a lot in common between feeling nervous and excited. Think about two different scenarios where you have felt nervous and another one where you felt excited. Do you see any similarities? If not, it is Ok. think about the physical symptoms you feel when you are nervous. For instance, increased heart rate, change in temperature (feeling hot or cold), blushing, sweaty palms, the adrenalin rush, etc. 

Now, let’s think about a moment where you received very exciting news. Do you recognize any of the symptoms we have mentioned? They are the same but we tend to give each one either a positive or negative qualification. Subsequently, if you are feeling nervous, transform this nervous energy into excitement by changing your mindset and approach. 

Tip 3: Plan your day the night before

If you are going to your first day of classes or lectures, you want to have everything you need. This is why it is very useful to prepare everything the night before such as getting your clothes ready, packing your favourite pen, a notebook, etc. This will remove some of the tension you could fill the next morning because you don’t feel ready. 

Additionally, try to get a good night’s sleep so avoid going to sleep too late. This will prevent feeling tired throughout the day and if you are low in energy then you won’t be able to concentrate or enjoy your first day. 

Tip 4: Think it is just another day of school

Every year during your high school days you had to start all over again, right? So this is not so different, just think you are going back to school. Many thoughts can be crossing our minds, such as if classes would be easy or hard or if professors will be nice or strict, and millions more. This is completely normal since it is a new context with new rules but what we fear is the ‘unknown’. Not knowing how the day will go is the reason why we tend to feel extremely nervous but remember you are not the only one. 

Tip 5: attend orientation and other events

I remember back in college how we had a whole week of events where we had the chance to meet our classmates, make friends and share stories. When I started talking to them, I realized that they were feeling just the same way I did. The events were very useful because I was able to forget that I was a freshman that didn’t know anything and just went with the flow. At the end of the week, I felt like I was there already for a few months, it was amazing. Everyone was so welcoming, from faculty members, staff from the library to the people from the cafeteria. Everyone was so happy we were there and we could tell by the way they talked to us.

How to not be nervous for college (Tips)

Tip 6: write down the things that make you feel nervous

Write down every single thought that comes to mind that makes you feel nervous. There must be something specific that you fear the most but as we will learn, it is an irrational fear. For instance, if you fear being alone or not making friends ask yourself why wouldn’t you? Just as you have made friends in the past, you will do it again. You could also fear getting lost or not arriving on time. Well, getting lost is normal but if you do, don’t be afraid of asking for directions on how to get to a certain building or room. 

Tip 7: Enjoy yourself

I know it can be difficult to think of enjoying yourself when you are terrified but is not as hard as you think. As we discussed, it is about changing your mindset and putting things in perspective. You may not feel ready and that is Ok but if you made it to college it means you are ready to face this challenge so have more faith in yourself. Enjoy every day because they may become the best years of your life and you may regret later not doing so.

Why is this blog about How to not be nervous for college important?

As we have discussed in this blog about ‘How to not be nervous for college’, it is normal to feel nervous before your first day of college because getting used to a new environment with new people and new rules can be daunting. However, it is just a matter of getting used to the routine and having a positive mindset. For many people, college represents the best years of their lives so try to enjoy your time there. 

Finally, consider following the tips we have mentioned such as talking and sharing experiences with regular students and ask as many questions as you need to. Try to attend to all the orientation events because they are planned specifically for you and to get to know other people that may feel the same way as you. Feel excited! This will be the first day of an exciting and challenging adventure.   

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to not be nervous for college

How do you calm anxiety in college?

If you want to calm your anxiety in college, try the following:

  • Make your learning memorable instead of memorizing what you are learning.
  • If you have anxiety while taking tests, make sure to do mock tests.
  • Organize your schedule so you have plenty of time to study.
  • Try not to engage in procrastinating and leaving everything for the last minute.
  • Try to do mindful meditation and breathing exercises.
  • Get enough sleep and exercise regularly.

Is it normal to be scared of college?

It is normal to be scared of college if you are transitioning from school. Your first day can be very scary but it is just a matter of adapting to a new environment. Try to have a positive mindset about going to college and set realistic goals you can achieve. This will boost your confidence and motivate you.

What can I take to not be nervous?

There are a few over the counter medications (herbal remedies) that could help you when you are feeling nervous or anxious, however, before taking any of them talk to your doctor for additional advice. Moreover, if you struggle with anxiety and your doctor believes you need to take something, they may prescribe anti-anxiety meds. But this is considered on a case-by-case basis.

How can I stop being nervous about school?

Feeling nervous for your first day of school is normal while you adapt and get used to it. But if you are struggling to cope with the school after a while then it is important to understand why you feel nervous. For instance, you may be struggling to present in class or making friends, so it is necessary to understand under which circumstances you feel nervous or if it is a generalized issue.

Why do you poop when nervous?

Anxiety has been associated with digestive problems such as diarrhoea. This is said to happen because there is a connection between your gut and your brain, known as the gut-brain axis. Subsequently, the axis gets connected with our central nervous system to our enteric nervous system or ENS, which acts as your gut’s nervous system.

References 

Mirani, K. (2020, Apr.) 10 Ways to Calm Pre-College Nerves. Retrieved from hercampus.com.

How to not be nervous for college (Tips)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.