Should I be Stressed?

As the year is inching to a close, seniors are getting ready for graduation and looking forward to college. In just about 4 months, most of us will be leaving our parents and venturing off into a completely different environment. Despite the excitement that comes along with graduation, prom, and senior activities, there is definitely some anxiety and stress regarding college.

We all have our worries concerning college whether it’s academics, finances, or homesickness. When asked about those concerns Senior Ajaratu H., who is attending UC Berkeley this fall, commented, “Money! I wasn’t stressed about money when I got my package because they covered most of my cost of attendance, but even the little bit that they didn’t cover is stressful.” There are so many unanswered questions (Am I smart enough? Will my roommate be weird? Where’s my new best friend? Will I be okay without my folks? Where’s the money?), and that’s what initiates our anxiety. Especially as HMSA students going from a very small class to “humongous” colleges, we feel very uneasy about this transition. Senior Alejandra V., who is attending CSULB this fall, provided some insight: “I am mostly stressed about adapting to a new and larger environment. HMSA’s small size allows people to instantly bond with one another. Colleges have thousands of students making it harder for someone to find out who they genuinely bond with.”

However, being nervous about starting college is probably the most normal thing any new college student can do. Your apprehension is a sign that you’re already interested in doing well. Additionally, most of your fears will probably go away after you get accustomed to college, and even if they don’t, there’s always something you can do to change things.

As we set off for college this fall, we’re looking at some frightening statistics. Currently, more than 40 million Americans hold student debt (Huffington Post). To put things in perspective, that’s more than Canada’s entire population. In addition, the average student debt more than quadrupled since 1999. These numbers seem daunting to say the least. However, your education is the best investment. When it comes to material things, most of us don’t think twice before investing or purchasing it. How much more valuable is your education? And yes, college is expensive, but there are so many ways to financially support yourself. Knowing how to manage your money is one of the best things you can do. Additionally, being aware of the specifics of your financial aid package and getting a good on-campus job are smart ways to be proactive about your finances.

The mere idea of living on our own instills fear in most of us. Although many may want to disagree, we’ve lived our entire lives dependent on our parents, and therefore, not living at home just doesn’t seem right. Senior Abanob S., who committed to CSUN, explained, “One of the many things I’ve been stressed about was the freedom that comes hand in hand with college. I have always been dependent on my parents to make food and clean my clothes, but now it’s my turn.” Maturing and becoming more independent is for our benefit, and taking on more responsibilities after graduating high school is expected. While managing things like cooking and doing the laundry is a common fear, there is also an easy fix. Before leaving for school, have someone teach you how to do laundry. If you don’t know how to cook, purchase a meal plan, watch some cooking shows, or cook with some friends. In no time at all, you’ll be a laundry-washing, dinner-cooking college pro.

Many seniors are worried about staying connected with friends and family. You will inevitably miss your family back at home; even if you’re not going away to school, you’ll probably end up missing the time you used to have to spend with friends, family, and loved ones. But don’t worry! You can miss someone and still make it in college. In addition, with the burgeoning social media, staying in touch with family and friends couldn’t be easier.

If it helps, know that you aren’t alone; every single senior is going through the same anxiety. The tension and stress that come along with graduation is typical. As of right now, just focus on overcoming senioritis and ending senior year positively.