What craziness it was. Starting in early September, I felt confused, tired and bedraggled, struggling to adjust to the major changes that college brings about. I felt compelled to call my parents constantly. “Don’t worry, you’ll get over it,” they would say. I tried to concentrate on my work, but nothing was going very well.
Stress and tensions created by the transition to college held me back for the first few weeks. Everywhere I turned, I saw another obstacle, another challenge that seemed to be closer to doom.
But then came the bright spots. I finally received a good grade on a math test and began making a few new friends. I became involved with the Hullabaloo, pledged (and am now a brother of) the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. I soon realized that in order to make through the semester, I needed to take a day-by-day approach.
Instead of seeing each test as an obstacle in my path, I needed to look at it as just another part of college life. Like my friend describes it, “it’s like high school, except you live at school.” I relied on a counselor at the ERC to help me through my homesickness and anxiety. I relied on my academic advisor to give me tips about how to plan my schedule. I relied on my parents to offer emotional support at the times when I felt most weak.
But most of all, I relied on my ability to challenge myself and become more involved in the community. I found that the more I had to do, the less worried about my future I became.
I equate my experience to pushing through doors, especially the heavy ones at the LBC. Each push represents my efforts to arrive at the next day; each close of the door represents the conclusion to each day, a chapter of my life. Each act of holding the door for someone else represents the courtesy and kindness necessary for me to get to where I want to be.
If I pull too softly, I won’t be able to get the door open and advance to the next day to face the next challenge. If I open the door too swiftly, I take up too much of my energy and must reorganize myself before I proceed.
This analogy may seem strange at first, but it represents one of the valuable lessons that I learned while living through the first semester of my freshman year. If you view a challenge such as a test or paper as a huge undertaking, you are more likely to let it consume you and increase your anxiety.
I have found that if I take each test, each obstacle one step at a time, I am more likely to succeed. All it takes it one swift swing, a look back to see if anyone is following you, and a smile to everyone around you.
Morgan Pfost is a contributing writer for the Hullabaloo and a freshman at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached for comment at .