High school students spend years preparing academically and financially for college, but seldom talk about their hidden fears about fitting in, meeting new people, and excelling in school. The EducationQuest bloggers opened up about their college days and the fears that they had to overcome to make college their second home.

Dressing the part: Jeannine Phelan

My sparse closet caused me the most anxiety when I started college. We wore uniforms at my high school so my casual (and dressy) clothes were sorely lacking. I have nine siblings so we did not have much to spend on extras. I recall buying a few tops and splurging on designer jeans to get me through the first semester. Thank goodness dressing preppy was in style because you could buy a few button-down shirts and chino pants for a song. For little money I could fit in, at least until I stopped caring what everyone else thought and just focused on my studies. 

Living away from home: Wynter Davis

I was scared about moving to a different state and living away from my family. I attended a junior college in Iowa to play volleyball with the hopes of transferring to a Division I college. The town was only three and a half hours from Omaha, but it seemed like a million miles away. After the first week, my fears melted away, and with the help of my teammates, Iowa felt like a place I could call home. That experience helped when I made a bigger move to South Carolina, where my monthly visits home shortened to just twice a year—Christmas and summer break.

Eating alone in the cafeteria: Kristin Ageton

There were two times a day I particularly dreaded: lunch and dinner – because I didn’t know where to sit in the cafeteria. I had to be very intentional about leaving my room and going to events around campus and striking up a conversation with strangers. Finding friends in the first few months of college was really difficult, but eventually, I found “my people” – as a result of getting involved in clubs on campus.

Meeting new people: Allison Ourada

I had always been very shy, so the idea of making a whole new set of friends and living with a stranger caused a lot of anxiety for me. I was lucky that I had one friend from high school who went to the same college as me, but I was also lucky that this forced me to make new friends. I didn’t create very close relationships with my roommate or with the girls on my floor (although I liked all of them fine), but I did find a close group of friends through extracurricular activities and my on-campus job that I am still friends with today. The first semester was tough, but in the end, my college town became my second home.

Being the “new” kid on campus: RJ Vega

When I left my hometown to attend college, I was worried that I wouldn’t know anyone or have any friends. I soon learned that all freshmen are starting brand new and don’t really know anybody! Those first few weeks of freshmen year were great because I met all kinds of people from all over campus, and I started new friendships that lasted beyond college into adulthood. I attended a lot of the welcome activities, like barbecues and pancake feeds, and it was a great way to meet tons of people. Since I lived on campus, I got to know my floor residents really well, too. Oh, to relive those first few weeks again!