Your senior year of high school has just ended, and you’re coming off a confidence high, so to speak. But as the start of college approaches, your nerves begin to build up and the realization that you’re actually going to college now is almost overwhelming. Here are some tips and tricks to help you gain confidence before and after your first day as a college student.
Attend a college you actually like
If you attend a university that someone else picked out for you (parents, grandparents, friends, mentors, teachers, etc.), it won’t feel like somewhere you belong. It’s important for you to make this decision. If you go somewhere you don’t know much about or weren’t wild about attending in the first place, you’ll be more focused on the end of the semester than enjoying your freshman year. If you decide to go to college out of state, it’s especially important for you to tour the colleges you’re interested in and choose one that feels right to you—not anyone else.
Stay healthy, active, and engaged
Make sure you’re eating healthily and drinking plenty of water. Keeping yourself healthy will add a confidence boost just because you’ll feel better and more capable of conquering any challenge. Make sure you exercise as well, because that’s just as important to feeling more energetic and happy. I would also highly recommend joining a sport or club that you’re interested in. It will allow you to have pursuits outside of academia, and you’ll find like-minded people who are interested in the same things you are. Don’t be afraid to explore your opportunities, and always approach situations with an open mind.
Find the positive
Remaining confident is a state of mind. Surround yourself with positivity in the simplest ways you can. If you like listening to music, try to find upbeat, empowering playlists to give you that extra confidence boost as you walk around campus. Speaking of walking around campus, knowing where you’re going will help you feel more confident. Most colleges have maps available, but if you don’t want to get a hard copy, any mapping service on your phone will work just as well. Also wear clothes that you feel comfortable and happy in. If you like how you look, it increases your confidence. If you’re having a bad day, try and just do something positive. I know it can be difficult to pretend that everything’s alright when you really need a break, but learn to treat yourself kindly even on those bad days. Continue to do something positive on those down days and hopefully their commonality will reduce.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
No matter how old you are or how much you want to appear capable, everyone needs help. There’s absolutely no shame in asking people for directions or instructions. If you don’t know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, clarifying things will ease your nerves and put you on the path to a more confident way of life. I promise there will be someone around on campus to help you. If you’re really freaking out, take a break and a breath. Remember there’s a solution to every problem.
Planners and journals are great, and I highly recommend using one—but only invest in one if you’re actually going to use it. It won’t help you otherwise. If you’re able to write down the days and times you have important meetings or appointments (even your class schedule), you’re less likely to forget or miss them. Keeping all your school stuff organized will always keep you prepared, and if you’re ready for your classes the night before, you’ll be less stressed in the morning, which will make you more confident in your pursuit of higher education. Being organized is key to a healthy and confident lifestyle.
If you have to fake your confidence in college for a while, that’s perfectly fine. But, especially as a freshman, you have to remember that everyone else is just as nervous about this next chapter of their lives as you are. So relax, take a deep breath, and try and enjoy your first year.
Find more advice on how to have the best freshman year ever in our Student Life section.