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The Jump You All Made To Get Here

Ayden Kitsko, Staff Writer

Everyone on campus was a freshman at one point. You all had concerns and fears moving into college life. The pandemic changed the way students arrived on campus. Students' fears across the nation have changed over the past few years because of this. Freshmen this year are living mostly on campus, an opportunity that some of the upperclassmen did not have the luxury of. The freshmen class is one like no other. This year's freshmen class is the largest in Oglethorpe’s history and not only is it the largest class, but by far it was the most isolated. Many freshmen this year did not have as much in-person experience in high school as the upperclassmen with some having as little as two semesters of in-person experience.

Being a freshman myself, I can most certainly agree that it was terrifying to think about the transition to college. Being a first-generation student only made my fears worse as I had no one to refer to for what to expect. I had no idea if making friends would come naturally or not. I was worried about much more than just making friends though. This was going to be my first time away from home and I had no idea what I really wanted to do. I still don't know what to do but I was able to ease some of my fears. Thankfully, I was able to reach out to upperclassmen online and ask questions about any concerns and make a few friends to not feel so anxious during orientation. Orientation helped me as I was able to quench the fears I once held. I was certainly not alone in these fears though.

“Not knowing people or being unable to make friends was my largest concern as well as the unknown of having no idea whether I would be able to handle the workload and keep up with both school and social life. College was also very unclear since no one in my family has ever attended formal university so I didn't know what to expect,” said Savannah Wolfe, a freshman at Oglethorpe University. When asked about whether or not they felt they could reach out to someone about their concerns, Wolfe said, “Yes, I have always felt comfortable reaching out to my RA{Resident Assistant} and OU{Oglethorpe University} staff for any concerns.”

Another Freshman, Josh Safran said, “I would have to say just making new friends after leaving all my old ones at other schools. I enjoy being social and talking to my friends so I was nervous about having to go to a new school and make new friends.” His remained similar to many freshmen. The pandemic did not alleviate the nervousness of making friends but rather aggravate the fear. Freshmen all on campus share this fear but it is not a new fear by any means. Freshmen for years have had this fear, but this year is much worse.

In contrast to social based fears, upperclassmen feared where their place in society would be and if they would be able to find themselves. Hannah Banfiel, a junior at Oglethorpe University said, “My biggest concern going into college was about the change from being far from home, and adjusting to not really knowing exactly what I wanted to do in school. I was usually someone who knew what I wanted, and didn’t feel very insecure in things that I was trying to do, but coming to college I was nervous about finding my place and purpose.” She is not alone in her fears.

All of these individuals had different fears, but they are certainly not the only ones who have had these fears. However, the advice they would give themselves is all very similar. “Breathe! Everything will fall into place and there are tons of people around you that, a), are feeling the exact same way, and b), want to help you!” said Banfiel. Safran’s stated, “Just to be confident and relax. I just need to have fun and not worry so much about if I am going to fit in or make new friends. I am great at both of those and I knew it would happen,” and Wolfe said, “Relax about the process and focus on getting comfortable, also make sure to attend every event possible because they were very informative and also helped me get accustomed to the class and the people around me.” This just indicates that the advice carries weight.

The largest thing our upcoming freshman class can do is to just relax and get involved.

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