Fear of the First Year – An Insider’s Look

Fear of the First Year - An Insider's Look

Hello everyone!  With the application deadline getting closer and closer, preparing to go to university is starting to seem more like a reality and less like a distant idea. Trust me, I know the feeling! If you’ve been keeping up with some of my earlier posts, I’ve already covered a lot of the great things that Bishop’s has to offer and many of the new experiences you have to look forward to in your first year of university. Now I want to take a look at some of the serious stuff, some of the fears you may have regarding your not-so distant future that’s about to start!

  1. Fitting In and Making Friends

In terms of making new friends, some of you are probably very excited by the idea of being thrown into a sea of new people and finally getting the chance to meet people outside of those you’ve spent the last four years with. On the other hand, it can be both sad and scary to leave behind the friends that you have grown up with and have to start back at square one. I come from a small town, so the people I went to high school with had been with me right since kindergarten, which made leaving them behind feel like leaving a bit of family behind – I’m sure this sounds familiar to many of you. However, the great thing about Bishop’s is that everyone will be in the same boat as you, as in, they will not know anyone either. A lot of my friends at larger universities say that there are lots of friend groups that have carried over from high school, but here, that is rarely the case! Everyone is very open and willing to start mingling right from the first day. There is a place for absolutely everyone here on this campus and I can’t wait for all of you to start finding out where that place is!

2. The Freshman “15”

You’ve heard about it, you’ve thought about and you’ve sworn it won’t happen to you. But let’s face it – you’re going to be moving away from home, living on your own schedule and not have your parent’s home cooked meals to fill your stomach every day. In addition, most of you will probably be on one of the three all-you-can eat meal plans and have access to Dewies all day long. Luckily, there is a way to MINIMIZE the (almost) inevitable first year weight gain. For starters, Dewies offers lots of different options, including many that are relatively healthy, like a salad bar, soups, fish, grilled chicken and vegetarian options so you don’t always have to go for the Gaiter Grill (that serves hamburgers, pogos, pizza, etc) or the stir fry station. As well, you will learn to know your own limits. The first month or so will be very exciting and you will want to try absolutely everything but keep this in mind – you will have all of the options ALL YEAR LONG! So do not feel you need to have something from every station at each meal! There will be time! As well, the gym and the pool are open from 6:30am until 11:00pm during the week so you have lots of opportunities to make an appearance there. Finally, if you are not a gym person, there are lots of clubs, classes and intramurals that you can try out to help you get and stay moving! However, if you do end up gaining a pound (or six), don’t sweat it! Just watch out for the full 15!

3.  Difficulty of Schoolwork

I don’t know about you, but my high school teachers constantly stressed the fact that university classes would be a lot more challenging, the professors would be much stricter and the work load would be way larger than what we were experiencing there. While this is true to an extent, I think that the challenge isn’t that the work is so much harder but it is the fact that responsibility for your learning resides solely on your shoulders. By this I mean, at university, you spend a lot more time outside the classroom than in, doing readings, research assignments, reports and essays so you have to stay on top of your work. Your professors are not going to be on you about completing your work. However, the profs here are always very helpful and available if you need them, so if you do find that you are struggling or require assistance, you don’t have to be afraid to ask. There is also a great tutoring system available if you find that you need it. But most importantly, and I can`t stress this enough, stay off of Facebook and on top of your work! As my dad always told me, there is nothing worse than falling behind because once you do, you will not catch up! So challenge yourself to complete your work and always remember that above all else, you are here to learn!

4. Homesickness

If you are anything like me when I was at this point in my high school career, you cannot wait to move out and start living by your own rules, without the watchful eye of your well-meaning parents. Homesickness could quite possibly be the last thing on your mind but it is something that I think is important to acknowledge. I can almost guarantee that you will experience it at one point or another. For me, I feel homesick when I am in stressful situations and do not have my parents to talk to and give me a hug. Let me start off by saying, there is nothing wrong with feeling homesick from time to time – it is natural and healthy to feel this way! At the same time, it is not really something you can prepare to deal with so my advice to you is to think about the times when you turn to your parents or someone from home and talk to them about it. This way, they can let you know that they will always be there for you and you will know that support is only a phone call away whenever you need it. Also, when you are feeling homesick, particularly during the first week, stay off of Facebook!! This will only make you miss home more and will not help your situation. Luckily, here at Bishop`s, you will find yourself surrounded by people who care about you and in particular, if you live in residence, you will have a great team of residence assistants who are always there if you need someone to talk to. And what I said earlier holds true – family and friends are only a phone call away, so don`t be afraid to call them! Get comfort from your loved ones, go eat some food and then find your friends to boost your spirits! Everyone cares about everyone here – we are a family and we can`t wait for you to be a part of it!


I can list reasons as to why you don`t need to be afraid of coming to university for hours, but regardless, you are still going to feel some anxiety and that is perfectly ok! It just means that you are getting excited about this new adventure you are about to go on! September is only 6 months away and hopefully, we will be seeing many of you making your new home here with us! As Winnie the Pooh once said “Always remember that you are braver than you believe, smarter than you seem and stronger than you know.“ Keep this in the back your mind as you start the next chapter of your life! You can do it!

Later (future) Gaiters! – Erica

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