Embracing my only first day of college

Randi Mattox

I was ready for my first day of college long before I graduated from high school.

I have been set on becoming a Colorado State University Ram for quite some time. And ever since I received my acceptance letter in the mail, I have been ready to get to campus, go to my classes and meet new friends.

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I have been counting down the days until I would officially become a CSU student for the last two years. But now that the first day of college is just around the corner, reality is setting in, and I could not feel more unprepared. I am completely overwhelmed by things I don’t know yet. Things that might seem simple to older students are the same things that worry me as I get ready for the first day of school. How am I going to fit all of my things in that tiny dorm closest? What if my roommate doesn’t like me? How will I get to my classes on time when there seems to be a construction site down every street? What will I do if my professor asks a question of me and I have absolutely no clue what to answer? What if I don’t make new friends? Why are so many people sleeping in public?

These questions, and what seems like a billion more questions, are haunting me. I can’t call my mom because I want her to think I can handle this on my own. I can’t ask other students because I don’t want someone’s first impression of me to be that I can’t find the answer to such simple questions. Google certainly can’t help me here. So what am I supposed to do?

I finally realized that the fear I have of that first day of college has nothing to do with that never-ending list of questions. Every new experience, every first step of any new journey, can elicit fear of the unknown. But what I should focus on, what all new freshmen need to remember, is that we will only have one first day of college…ever. For the rest of our lives, Aug. 24, 2015, will always be our first day of college. So instead of concentrating on what we don’t know, instead of allowing our fear and our questions to dictate how we spend our first day of school, let’s embrace the unknown. We are part of a very select group of people. We are CSU Rams! I may be a new college student 750 miles from home, I may miss my mom and my cat, but I have a new family now. We all do. And we are all in this together.

So let’s laugh at ourselves when we get lost, when we lose our dorm passes, when we can’t find our way to class on time. Even when the upperclassmen laugh at as, just remember that they aren’t laughing at us as much as they are laughing at the fact that they once endured a similar challenge. One day, we will remember all of our challenges and we will laugh as well.

I recognized that most of my fears are the same fears all freshmen have, even the ridiculous and completely unreasonable ones. So on Aug. 24, 2015, I am going to take a breath, smile, act like I know what I’m doing, and I am sure the rest will fall into place. But if you see a girl looking aimlessly around, trying to find her classes, please stop and help me.

Collegian Reporter Randi Mattox can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @randi_mattox