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Survival of the new kid

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Survival of the new kid

College students working together in class.

College students working together in class.

Chris Futcher

College students working together in class.

Chris Futcher

Chris Futcher

College students working together in class.

Breyana Perry, Staff Writer

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Becoming a freshman all over again at a new school can be stressful and hectic. Getting acclimated in a new environment that you’re not familiar with can result in major anxiety, especially since it’s college, and that’s a place that defines who you’re becoming as an independent adult.

College can be this exciting new place for some, but for others, it can be scary. Not knowing what you want to major in or not feeling like you have your life figured out can be frustrating.

College is very different from high school because all of your responsibilities fall on just you alone. There’s no one there to force you to do your work and make you go to class. That’s entirely your responsibility. In college, you get more freedom than you did before in high school, and even though that sounds like something nice it can be nerve-wracking as well.

Many students can feel anxious about all the work that they have to do. So, whether you’re still adjusting to college-life right out of high school or jumping back into classes after a lengthy break, daily tasks can really have a student feeling on edge.

Anxiety is typically caused by a combination of factors, and when anxiety begins to make an impact in one’s life, that’s when it’s important to reach out for help.

At Elgin Community College, Mary Grimm, one of the wellness services professionals, shares some of her insight when it comes to being a new student in college.

When it comes to dealing with anxiety and staying at ease, Grimm suggests some activities that can help relax your nerves.  

“Three coping strategies that I recommend will reduce these physical symptoms. They are deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and a present-focused activity, which I call ‘5, 4, 3, 2, 1,’” Grimm said. “Name five objects that you can see, name four things you can feel, name three things you can hear, name two things you can smell and name one thing you can taste.”

To any students enrolled at ECC for the first time, or to new students in the future, Grimm offers additional advice in dealing with anxiety.

“If you are struggling with anxiety, you are not alone,” Grimm said. “Get connected, challenge yourself and reach out when you need to. That’s why we are here!”

Grimm also recommends visiting her in room B120 if you ever feel the need to talk to a professional.

Stephanie Franco, an ECC student currently in her last semester, shares her views on what it’s like being a new student.

Franco’s biggest challenge with being a new student all over again was meeting new people at school. Not knowing people only made things harder. Because there wasn’t anybody to talk to in the beginning, it was especially difficult when she had questions outside of class.

“Please put your classes before work, [and] schedule study sessions with friends or classmates,” Franco said. “Don’t be afraid to seek help, and always mark important dates.”

Joshua Faulkner, another student that attends ECC as a full-time student, discusses how the pressure of being a new student in a different city gave him anxiety.

“Being a new student is already hard but coming to a new place and not knowing anybody sucked, especially when you’re not as outgoing and social in the first place,” Faulkner said.

On top of being a new student in a new area, pressure can also come from outside of the classroom.

“Like for me, it’d be work and school giving me anxiety, trying to balance those as well as feeling alone when you don’t have your close friends with you to help you deal with stress can be hard,” Faulkner said.

Some advice Faulkner recommends is not being afraid to speak up,

“Once you make some friends and find trusted people to speak up to, it makes a huge difference, and even though some days are still hard, you realize they get better,” Faulkner said.

About the Writer
Breyana Perry, Staff Writer

I’m studying broadcast journalism. This is my first year at ECC and I decided to join The Observer because I wanted to get better at writing and explore...

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Survival of the new kid