I remember being very excited for college.
I could finally say goodbye to my uniform, to stacks of problem sets and notes I poured upon before the national examination, and to all school subjects I actually would rather not taking. I would meet new people, experience new things, and discover the world I have never thought of. I would get a taste of managing my life, on my own.
I remember realizing that this college business would be a lot harder than high school.
When that realization hit me, I panicked. Suddenly college seemed so scary, that it was a foreign concept I had no full understanding of. This is the time where people are treating me as an adult—the excuses I used to make would not be justifiable here. I would be fully responsible for my own, and this, while not definite, would be the steps towards the future I will create. What if I couldn’t understand what the professor was talking about? What if I couldn’t figure out how this particular theory works? What if I couldn’t handle the work load? What if I chose the wrong class? What if I ran out of the time to take the required classes for the major I want to take? What if I failed all of my classes? What if I messed it all up?
I walked into my first class trying not to give those what ifs a pole position. I tried to focus on other things—the people I share a class with, the buildings where my classes are, the professors, even the swivel chair I fell in love with in my Spanish class. But I knew that sooner rather than later, those what ifs would come back with even a greater force. It didn’t take too long. At the end of my first week, I went back to panic mode, what with the homework, reading, and note-reviewing I had to do.
I remember remembering that this is college, not high school.
Yes, there would be many sleepless nights and frustrated screams, but that doesn’t mean that I’d be hopeless. I’d have to make more effort than I did before, but that doesn’t mean there are no help available. Knowing that doing nothing would not help my panic attack, I started to seek for resources. I started to go to workshops, directly approach my friends for group discussion and, my turned-out-to-be-my-favorite-one, meet my professors during their office hours to discuss the things I didn’t understand.
Strangely, those office hours sessions sometimes were the highlight of my day. Not only did I get smarter (I hope), but I also found myself enjoying the conversations I had with my professor; be it about a calculus theory, deadweight loss generated by imposing tax vs. setting up a quantity limit, their previous experience as an academia or just about life in general.
I remember being able to be excited for this new life again.