To Nervous Students Starting College…

In all honesty, I was never “dying” to graduate from high school. I had my moments of excitement but after moving many times throughout my life, I finally felt settled. It was hard for me to understand why so many of my friends couldn’t wait to leave because I loved my life. Not that I ever like change, but the transition to college was especially hard for me. After a year of riding high, I hit a deep low. I craved the comfort of home and high school. The people I met at college were, for the most part, radically different from me and I felt lost. Freshman year was the most difficult year of my life and I couldn’t picture surviving that year, let alone any more.

Freshman year dorm

But here I am, entering my junior year of college. I’ve (obviously) survived and I’ve matured in more ways than I ever imagined. I’m nowhere near fully mature (are we ever?) but I’m incredibly proud of the progress I’ve made in just two years. From the 17-year-old crying in her dorm room to the 19-year-old writing this post, I’ve come a long way. On Friday I wrote about looking back and seeing how much has changed since then. While it sounds like rainbows & butterflies now, I feel for those people who aren’t jumping with joy about starting college or are worried about what’s to come. I just want to be that little ounce of hope for people struggling that says “it’s OK.” 

It’s OK to miss home

It’s OK to not find a group of friends right away

It’s OK to prefer a low-key movie night to going out to a club/bar

It’s OK to get lost on campus

It’s OK to feel lost

It’s OK to text your mom more than anyone else (she’s my lifeline)

It’s OK to have a laundry-malfunction and cause a little flood (not like I did that or anything…)

It’s OK if you’re an introvert (I know it’s tough in a world of extroverts)

It’s OK to not “hook-up” with random people or enjoy the party scene

It’s OK to struggle with classes at first. It takes some time to learn each professor’s teaching style…everyone is different.

It’s OK to cry, to ask questions, to be sad/happy/excited/scared/overwhelmed/tired/confused/whatever

it will be ok



From the outside it always looks like people are super happy, successful and have their lives together. Just know that is not always the case. Some people do a good job at putting on a front and hiding their true emotions while others simply have an easier time adjusting to college life. There are tons of people who actually are excited to start college, and probably most students are. But just know that if you’re not one of them, you’re not alone. It gets easier. You get stronger. You find a routine. You take advantage of the amazing opportunities college has to offer. You enjoy the freedom.

It is most certainly an adjustment, but one you can handle.

College students/graduates: how was your adjustment freshman year?
Incoming freshman: any thoughts?


  1. Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy says

    I’m going I to my last year of high school and im actually really looking forward to college/university! Some people say college is a lot of fun, and im sorry you didn’t think the same for your first year.

  2. Gina Alyse (@GinaAlyse) says

    Loved this post Emily! I agree 100% will all of these. When I’m at school, I tend to go for more low-key nights with friends and I try to talk to my mom as much as I can, since we are really close. Adjusting to college can be hard — I did get homesick my first year. But it’s all about taking on challenges and making new mistakes that way we learn and have a better experience!

    • Emily says

      Thanks, Gina! I agree, as hard as it was going through those challenges freshman year, it definitely made for a lot of “life lessons” and valuable experience.

  3. pickyrunner says

    I remember this time in my life too. It’s hard. Really hard. I went to college having hated high school so I thought I would have a fresh start. But I also didn’t want to leave my family and I remember sitting at Bank of America with my parents switching over my accounts and I was bawling my eyes out. The lady didn’t know what was wrong! It was really hard and while it did get slightly easier, being away from home was always hard. But back to your post- I can relate to every single one of the “it’s okays” and I wish more people were honest about those feelings because you definitely aren’t alone and neither was I. If you ever need to chat, you know where to find me :)

    • Emily says

      I know I told you this, but your posts helped me so much during that time because they reminded me that I wasn’t alone :) And funny/not funny story…the same thing happened to me at Bank of America. I switched over my account too and it became so real.

  4. Strength and Sunshine says

    Thank you Emily! XOXO This was perfect to read! I am having a rough day again. It is so off and on with my emotions these last few weeks. 3 more days until move-in and it is coming o so fast!

    • Emily says

      I’m glad it could help you! Trust me, I still struggle going back to school after summer and long breaks. But the emotional roller coaster of freshman year definitely settles down. GW is lucky to have you!

  5. Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie says

    I love this. Going into my junior year, I can relate to all of these “oks” and it is nice to relate. I was excited to head off to college, but nervous and scared at the same time. Freshman year is such a mix of emotions!

    • Emily says

      I’m going into my junior year too and I remind myself of the “it’s oks” very frequently. They apply at all stages I think!

  6. Christina Beaute says

    If I had to pick up and move for my college, I would feel the same way. Thankfully I didn’t, but college life does take some getting used to. You may gain friends and lose many, have plenty of new experiences, feel a little lonely even. But although you may be nervous, you can definitely make it through these changes, if you try.
    Good luck in your next year!

  7. Sara says

    Wow! Thank you so much for this post. My first year was really hard, and I would have loved to know that other people were experiencing the same! I’m a junior now, too, and have definitely found my place on campus, but it would have been so helpful to know that it was okay for it to take time. I will be sharing this around (:
    Sara recently posted…Oxford Diaries 10: Hilary in ReviewMy Profile

    • says

      I’m so glad you resonated with this! I wish I knew other people who were going through the same thing. Unfortunately I think a lot of people mask their feelings to seem “cool.” Thanks in advance for any shares :)

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