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Conquering Freshmen Fears

I remember all too well my very first time walking into a college class. It was a 9am French class, and I had woken up two hours earlier to prepare. I was terrified. I was late and then proceeded to answer with a Spanish “si” instead of “oui” when my professor asked me a question. My heart raced and my face flushed deep red. I had from that day set the standard for the rest of the term, and I suffered painfully shy and awkward moments nearly every class.

I can now say that walking into my classes this term has been the opposite experience. With practice and time comes confidence. I no longer have to carry a map to locate my classrooms, and I’ve learned to plan my walk accordingly so I don’t show up to class 20 minutes early or 5 minutes late. I no longer feel the pang of anxiety every time a professor calls on me.

A metaphor I heard last year compared being a freshmen to a baby T-Rex: We have awkward arms and fumble about trying to find our balance. But by the time we leave campus, we’ve become the king of the dinosaurs, and the ┬ásmaller dinos looks up to us.

You best run while you can, ’cause the T-Rex is comin’.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Mike Briggs #

    I really enjoyed this piece. It made me think of a similar situation I had…getting used to a new atmosphere. But it was not as a Freshman at PSU but as an E-1, brand new enlisted sailor, in the US Navy. I was 19, fresh out of Hillsboro High School, and it was April 21, 1971. I did not want to be there…but it was my first real decision I had to make in my life. I spent four years, to the day, re-living that decision I made.

    Now, many years later–I am glad I made the decision I did. I would not be the person I am today, had it not been for those four long and lonely years away from home, away from the normality of a childhood–to the chaos of a military life.

    Sink or swim took on a whole new meaning…

    Thanks Katie for your great piece.

    October 3, 2012

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