You’re probably terrified right now.
Well, maybe terrified isn’t the right word. Anxious, unsettled, hesitant, nauseous, nervous, homesick – whatever word you choose, you have some sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, and as you’ve heard time and time again from your peer mentors, parents, friends, and counselors, it’s perfectly normal.
Here’s something they don’t tell you at freshmen orientation: That terror isn’t going away.
It’s been one, two, or three years for us at The Elm, and we’re still scared. Right now, we’re nervous about that inevitable typo that will worm its way into this issue; we’re apprehensive about getting all our textbooks at a moderately affordable price; we don’t know how well we can juggle the ever-mounting load of class work with the frenzied world of journalism; and we’re anxious to impress you, our newest readers, with our very first early, special freshmen issue of The Elm.
Simply put, those new-student jitters aren’t going away. They’ll come back time and time again, from your first day in GRW to that fateful thesis submission four years later. You can take all the deep breaths and yoga classes you want, but nervous adrenaline is just a part of college life. After all, those obnoxiously hyperactive, fluttering butterflies in your stomach are going to be your prime motivators to do well on that looming final exam or crucial away game sometime in the near future.
At advising day earlier this summer, you were told over and over to “get involved,” in the classroom, practice fields, common rooms, SGA, anywhere that’s going to pull out of your texting reveries with high school friends and into the world of the living.
But we at The Elm would like to emphasize that joining a club or activity may keep you busy on weeknights, but it’s not enough to help you fall in love with college life. If you really want to make these next four years as fulfilling as possible, here’s a little free advice: Take risks. Step out of your comfort zone, embrace that buzz of nervous energy and fall flat on your face. Do something wild and crazy (without ending up in The Elm’s weekly Public Safety report, preferably).
Most of us on The Elm staff never imagined we’d be editing for the student newspaper when we toured campus for the first time as bright-eyed high school seniors. Many of us had never heard of AP Style or bumping headlines, and some hadn’t picked up a newspaper before. But someone dragged us to an Elm open house or encouraged us to write a silly guest column, and for some crazy reason, we agreed. That first published article or photo is embarrassing now; we might have actually regretted submitting it when we saw it in print that Friday morning.
But week after week, we turned in another assignment. Our writing became clearer and our style errors lessened with each article, but that uneasiness never really went away. Even now, as editors and senior writers and photographers, we’re nervous with every week’s issue. Then we pick up a crisp, clean Elm on Friday, and all that anxiousness seems worthwhile.
So don’t let those butterflies hold you back. Take some chances, and these next four years may be the best of your life.