What I wish I had known: ‘You’re going to be nervous and afraid’

Some people say, “Don’t be afraid! You’re going to have so much fun and be so successful!”

That’s terrible advice.  It’s terrible because it’s not realistic.  I’m going to edit it and say, “You’re going to be nervous and afraid, but you will have fun and you will be successful!”

I was super outgoing in high school and highly involved in band, so naturally I assumed everything would be easy when I got to college.  But then I showed up and suddenly lost all of my confidence.  It had nothing to do with BGSU.  There was an enormous welcome crew to help me park and find my way around campus.  I liked my roommate.  My professors were cool and helpful, but I was nervous anyway.  I think it happened because I was in a new place with new people and new experiences.  I wasn’t just nervous…I was totally, absolutely, weird-stomach-feeling nervous.  And somebody telling me not to be afraid would have been annoying.

So accept this now: you will be nervous.  You’ll be nervous when you go to your first class.  You’ll be apprehensive about meeting people and anxious about what there is to do.  But take those moments of nervousness and fight through them.  Here’s how I did it.

I heard a knock on my door and went to answer it.  It was Heather, a girl I carpooled with to tutor for my education class.  I kind of knew her, but it was October or some early month, so I didn’t know her that well.  She wanted me to go to dinner with her.  The catch: She was with two other people I had never met.  Not only that, but she was friends with both of them!

My worst-case scenario: I was being asked to dinner with three people that knew each other, none of whom I knew.  I was nervous, but I said yes.  I felt awkward for a while.  I think I forgot somebody’s name once.  I probably made a stupid joke.  In the end, though, I met Alissa and she became one of the greatest friends I’ve ever had.

What if I had said no? What if I had used my nervousness as an excuse to say that I had already eaten or that I was busy working on something? I didn’t do that, though.  Yeah, I was nervous, but I didn’t let that stop me from having fun.

So go ahead and be nervous! Just fight through it, have fun, and be successful!

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