Heading off to college is a time that is full of anxiety, excitement and even frustration. For many students, the excitement of college is closely associated with the freedom and independence to make adult decisions without a parent’s consent. For some students, these excitements and opportunities often are negated by the negative anxieties associated with college, especially that involving academic settings and curriculum.
If you are about to head off for college, it is important to be realistic about your expectations. If you are somewhat introverted, shy or not as social as your peers, you can expect there may be added distress, especially during your first year of college. In fact, distress and anxiety is not uncommon even within your classroom setting.
In many large lecture classrooms, professors are turning an approach in teaching that involves smaller group settings. Where many class sessions will involve professor instruction to the entire group of students at one time, there may be many times in which your instructor will encourage small group settings in which to facilitate learning. Because large lectures often result in lack of interaction with each student personally, utilizing smaller group settings will allow for students to interact with one another, facilitate an exchange of discussion about the topics at issue and, thereby, provide some additional assurance you are capturing the information.
If you are a student who is anxious, shy, introverted or just less social than your peers, these small group settings may lead to some level of distress. It is important, therefore, that you prepare, in advance, for the small group setting and learn to manage your emotions and fears before the situation arises. Working in small groups with your friends and your family may be one way in which to promote your learning and reduce your fears when you go to college (source). In addition to simulating the small group environment with your close friends and family, using the guidance of a life coach may also be helpful. In many cases, a life coach can offer resources on support groups that can assist with your transition to college.
In many college settings, there are intranet resources that allow students to meet and chat with one another outside of the classroom setting. Look into your college’s intranet program and determine if there is a way to connect with students in your lecture class before classes begin. By chatting with a few students online, you may be able to break down the walls and communication barriers that could potentially exist during the first few days of class.
Going to college is a lifelong dream for many students and their parents. For some students, however, the frustrations, fears and anxieties associated with small group lessons in large lecture classes often result in the failing or dropping of those classes. If you are concerned about your fears and anxieties, utilize these resources as a proactive way to prepare for your fears and to challenge then, head-on, into your college experience.