How to cope with first-day-of-class jitters

Valerie BustamanteBy Valerie Bustamante


I sat in the truck thinking about other things to take my mind off of what was going to happen in the next hour or so.

I felt this pain in my stomach and didn’t know how to get rid of it. I was feeling the worst anxiety I had ever felt in my life.

What was causing this? Well, it was the first day of my freshman year in college.

As I sat with my mom beside me I kept thinking how in the world was I going to get through a day of classes when I hadn’t even gone to my first one yet and I already felt like my heart was in my stomach? I only knew one person, and I was on a campus that was 10 times the size of my high school. I didn’t think I’d find any of my classes or I’d make any new friends.

The list goes on and on of worries and fears I had that day. The truth is I am not the only person who has these thoughts on the first day of school, especially the first day of college.

It can be truly the hardest thing ever because you’re coming from a place where you knew everything and everyone. And now you’re studying on a new campus where you have to learn everything from the bottom up again.

However, it gets easier. Each semester you’ll get to meet new people — people from all over. And you’ll learn little things you never thought even existed.

Here are three things I think can help you get through your first day of college and some I wish I had thought of three years ago:

  1. Smile: Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to the person beside you in class. Ask for his or her name, or maybe how their first day is going so far. Most likely they’re as nervous as you are and it may be helpful to at least know somebody in your class. It’s the worst feeling to be alone on your first day. A new friend could ease those first-day jitters.
  2. Explore the Campus: After I nervously finished my first class, I noticed I had almost a three-hour gap till my second one. Since I didn’t know anybody and the one person I did know was nowhere to be found, I sat for three hours alone on the picnic tables in front of the Administration Building. I basically isolated myself from our amazing campus and students instead of exploring what the campus has to offer. So, don’t be afraid to explore. The first day and even the first week has so much to offer. There are always activities going on in the student center that allow you to interact with other students. A concert and barbecue is also held towards the end of the day.
  3. Finding Classes: While it can be super-intimidating being on a new campus, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re worried about finding your classes, then just go a couple minutes before and spot out the room numbers. It will allow you to not be late on the first day.

The most important thing is to not let your nerves get the best of you. Just let the day go by and enjoy it. You’ll eventually settle in and find your place. The college experience is something you will learn to appreciate and cherish. While you may feel like the first day is something you don’t know how you’ll get through, all the other first days to come will be a piece of cake.


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