Some things that have been keeping me up at night

Hello, I usually don’t post and forgive me if this turns out really long. I just don’t have many people to go to in my life with these things. To begin, I’m 18 and enrolled at a top tier university for the fall and I’m scared of going. My family, teachers, and everyone else is happy about that but me because I don’t know whether I would like it there. I applied under Early Decision, so, if I was admitted, I would have to go unless I could not afford it. And, they gave me a financial aide package that I’d be stupid to refuse. I know it was a bad idea to apply ED, but, I had no idea what I was doing through the whole college application processes and neither did my parents (neither were raised or educated in this country). So, it was like pressing random buttons in hopes something goes right.

Anything, I’m scared as hell that I’m not going to do well in a place full of prodigies. Sure, my grades are good, but, that is because I’ve done nothing but bust my back over them these past four years. I’m not actually that smart and I lack talent, personality, and common sense. From the remarks my parents make about me, even they probably wonder how I dress myself in the morning.

I’m afraid of living there even though it’s a half-hour away from my home (freshman have to live on campus and I can’t drive anyway). I’ve always hated being around people my own age since nursery school and it’s always a huge relief to be back home from school even if my family is usually at each other’s throats. I’m just scared that I won’t like my roommate (everyone tells me that your roommate is your first friend in college), I’m worried I’ll stick out to much, and I’m afraid that people will give me garbage over my religion (I don’t exactly advertise it, but, I’m afraid of having to express an opinion for class).

I want to become some sort of health professional, not a doctor though, but, I have no clue what to do in college to make that happen and I’m afraid of making a bunch of a bad choices and not be able to find a job later. I’m also afraid of failing my classes.

On top of that, I’ve gone to an all-girls high school and have not spoken to a male my age in four years and I’m scared of guys now. I usually don’t see them around, but, if I’m walking somewhere and a guy says something, I just pick up the pace and walk by without making eye contact or go to the other side of the street.

Anyway, I think that is the gist of it. Sorry I don’t know how to split this in several threads as everything seems too closely related. Pardon any typos, I just needed to do this fast and I can elaborate on anything needed later. Please don’t assume the worst of me; someone did that in another thread of mine a long time ago and that has put me of from posting since. It just cut through me. Thanks. Sorry for anything that hasn’t occurred to me to be sorry for at this moment.

Hi redbetta,

I think that it’s normal to have some kind of anxiety, when starting something new like this. I think that it’s normal to wonder about the experience, wondering what it will be like for you.

I think that you are too hard on yourself, when you say things like you aren’t that smart. You are very articulate, and you write very well, too. You need to give yourself more credit. :slight_smile:

I would just look at starting college in the fall as a new opportunity to study a new subject, and to make new friends. Just take things as they come, one day at a time, and if you start to feel overwhelmed, there should be a school counselor that you can talk to, if you need to.

I am sorry that you haven’t been posting here. Please don’t let anyone keep you from doing that.

It’s very normal to be nervous about starting college…or any new venture. I’m 60 years old, and I still get a bit nervous before going to Confession!

My granddaughter started college last fall, and I know she was nervous, too. But she did very well. No, she’s not best friends with her roommate…they don’t have much in common and the roommate goes home every weekend. But they are friendly and pleasant to each other, and it’s been fine. Granddaughter also joined a couple clubs she was interested in, and made a few new friends. And goes to the Mass on campus each Sunday afternoon. There’s a youth group for the campus church, too.

I don’t think you need worry about competing with smarter people at college…you don’t have to worry about being smarter than others, just apply yourself and study hard, and you’ll do fine.

So I guess my advice is: 1. Don’t worry about being good friends with your roommate…just be nice to her. 2. Study hard. 3. Join a club or two. 4. Go to Mass each week and think about joining the youth group

Hi Red Betta,
It’s a treat to see you posting. A few practical notes:

  1. A top tier prof can only spend an hour a day teaching you and can’t really give you much more info than a second tier prof-don’t let the fancy label make you nervous.
  2. If you have the grades necessary to get into such a school, you are unlikely to fail your classes. However, seeing that you are nervous, -getting to know the coulselors at school, your professors, and any teaching assistants you might work with will help you overcome anxieties and search out the tools and programs which might help you to be even more successful. These people are working to help you succeed; let them know that you are interested in learning from them.
  3. If you are interested in a medical field, start with your chemistry and biology and the math which accompanies them and add some writing courses and you will be building yourself in the right direction as you buy time to determine where in this field you will be comfortable.
  4. Look at the boys at school as potential study buddies and don’t worry too much about anything else. Some will make better study buddies than others and it won’t take too long to begin sorting through that.
  5. Your faith will get you through anything you encounter that is challenging. Are there Catholic clubs on campus? A place where you might assist at Mass? Ask your priest to help you find opportunities at school that support your faith.

What a blessing for you to be so close to home; perhaps you can go home on weekends and assist at Mass at your local parish. An added bonus is doing laundry at the folks’s:thumbsup:
Fear not! God is good and He will take good care of you.
May you be blessed.

So you’re not really that smart but you busted your back for those good grades?
What I read in that is that you have good study skills, self discipline, know how to manage your time well. Those skills are a huge advantage will serve you well in the next year.

We are all nervous venturing out into the unknown. Remember to take a big breath, exhale. Say* I can do this, I can figure this out.* Because you can. All you can do is do your best.

Remember to pray every day and talk to God about your fears and anxieties. He will journey with you and that is the best friend you can ever hope for.

I find you very endearing. I think you are being too harsh on yourself. You were accepted to these universities for a reason. Focus on your studies and try not to worry too much about the boys (trust me, they are more nervous about you then you are of them).
I may be in my mid 20s but I’m here for advice if you need it.

I agree with all the others that nerves about college are normal.

Before I go on, may I suggest a career in Medical Technology? This is what I do, and I really like it. It’s a great career with many job openings–there has always been a shortage of med techs.

We work in the hospital laboratory doing the testing (CBCs, glucose, microbiology cultures, blood banking, etc.). Interestingly, a fairly high percentage of med techs have Asperger’s or are on the spectrum. The profession is a good fit for people who don’t necessarily consider themselves “socially-talented.”

We don’t actually work with the patients (in some small hospitals, we draw the blood specimens). And a lot of our work is done independently of others; I spend most of my day sitting at a bench reading microbiological cultures. Yes, we enjoy each other’s company and we act as a team to put out excellent test results, but we don’t constantly interact with other co-workers.

Good income, but not great. I make around $60,000/year and I’ve been working for over 30 years. A new med tech will start out around $25/hour.

It’s secure work–not likely that I will be downsized, especially in microbiology. It’s hard to find medical technologists, so we are usually pretty safe from downsizing.

I think you would like this career. Look into it. It’s a four-year degree, and I recommend going to a school where you spend three years doing course work, and the 4the fourth year doing clinicals. You don’t need to have straight As to be a Med Tech, and you definitely don’t need to go to a high-end college. We’re smart, but we’re not brilliant or gifted. We’re just good at what we do and we enjoy it.

Anyway, the best advice I can give you is don’t expect too much from college and don’t glamorize college. It’s not like the Nancy Drew books!

My younger daughter went to a Catholic college (she’s Protestant), and she expected people to actually live their religion and she was looking forward to being with decent kids. :rotfl:

She was very upset when she realized that 99% of the students were at that college for 2 reasons (1) to drink as much alcohol as they possibly could and then drink some more, even though they were drinking underage and breaking the law (2) and to get away from their Church and practicing any kind of religion.

Obviously the results of this kind of attitude/behavior were very poor grades for many of these students. My daughter started her freshman year in a quad dorm room with 3 pre-med students, and she was appalled at how stupid and aimless they were. They didn’t study and guess what?–they flunked out.

She, OTOH, took a course overload (21 hours) and made straight A’s all the way through college. She’s a smart girl, but not a prodigy, and she studied her butt off. And she drank alcohol, but she didn’t live to drink like so many college students. (She majored in Physical Therapy, which took 6 years of work, and today she is working as a PT and making more money than I make, but she works directly with patients and loves her patients.)

I will say that once the students got through their freshman and sophomore years, a lot of the “chaff” had flunked out and started selling carpet or used cars, while the students who were left were a lot more serious about their studies and tended to drink and party a little less than when they were younger.

I’m guessing that you will find the same thing happening at your college, unless you are attending a Reformed Christian college like my older daughter did–at this college, alcohol was not allowed on campus and apparently, most of the students didn’t mind one bit, because they were raised in Reformed Christian homes where total abstinence from alcohol is the norm. She said that even off-campus, many of the students didn’t drink alcohol at the parties.

But if you’re going to a regular college, you’ll find that most students are there to drink as much as they can, and stay out of church totally.

So what that means is that these supposedly “smart” students aren’t really that smart after all, and you can do well if you study and don’t spend all your out-of-class time partying and seeking out partying opportunities.

Just be yourself. Listen more than you talk, and people will like you. You’re bound to meet up with a few people who will become your friends, and once you settle on a major, you will spend a lot of time with all the others who in the same major and these people will become your friends.

I personally hated college. I hated the “me-centered” attitude that all of us had. Everything was all about “us” and our major and our classes and our extra-curriculars and our “relationships” and our breaks and how we needed more money–yech. It was so unreal to me. I was eager to get my “real” life going and get a permanent job and stop being a sponge and soaking up money from my parents. I also hated the studying, and I still hate studying and I’m 57 years old!

It is nice to hear from others that I’m not completely hopeless. I’m not too social if a person, so, I won’t want to participate in any of the parties. I’m just afraid of the parties coming to me. I’m afraid of not being able to enter my dorm room because my roommate and others are doing questionable things in there and basically having somewhere else to sleep over night.

I’m not sure how many Catholic resources are available on campus, but, there are four Catholic parishes in the city that I guess I need to try out to see which would fit best.

I have a hard time believing that 99% of people in any university would go their to do questionable things. My friend always tells me that I have such a negative view of humanity. But, if I truly did, nothing would surprise me. But, as it is, I’m surprised all the time by the horrible or just plain stupid things that people do. But, I have difficulty believing that colleges are as toxic of places as some horror stories make them out to be. All I want to do is get an education and I assume that what others are there for. But, if these horror stories turn out to be true, how do I avoid it? Currently, I plan on staying at the college’s library 24/7 because it seems to be at the moment the only place I could lead the quiet life that I want. I’m not sure what else to do besides study.

I’m not sure what to make of guys. What is unnerving is I don’t know what they are thinking when they see me. I’d like to think the best of them, but, I get a lot of advice telling me to stay away.

My granddaughter had an option when filling out her paperwork whether or not she wanted a more social roommate situation or preferred a quieter, more studious setting (I can’t remember exactly how it was worded, but that was the basic meaning of the choices). She picked the studious setting, and it has worked out just fine.

Same here. Most universities will send out a roommate questionnaire before college begins where you will be able to make your preferences clear. Make it as clear as possible that you want your room to be used for study, not socialization, and you’ll have less of a chance of running into an issue.

I also wanted to comment on this. If you’re going to a “top-tier university”, you may be pleasantly surprised at how the people you meet will be more suitable for you than the people you know right now. Everyone in your class will either (1) be as hard of a worker as you, or (2) be really innately intelligent. You are not going to stick out as much as you do right now.

I admit that the first couple months of college can be tough – even if you don’t feel like you have any close friends after your first few days, just give it some time.

If you’re planning on becoming some kind of health professional, does this mean that you’ll be majoring in the sciences? (Chemistry / biochemistry / BME / biology)?

Note that with these kinds of majors, there will be little to no opportunity to express opinions about religion in class. Even if a biology class deals with fetal development or something similar, any political opinions on the subject are immaterial and can easily be ignored and forgotten.

You will have to take some humanities/social sciences electives, but still, because they’re not part of your major, you won’t have enough exposure to those fields for it to become a significant issue. The only issue I had in college was with a film class where you had to watch movies with inappropriate scenes in them…but given that it was a film class, I could/should have anticipated that situation anyway.

First off, congrats on being accepted to a top school. Your concerns are very normal and most others are going to feel like you do. Don’t worry about it and don’t get too worked up over them.

Also, I went to a good school…not top tier, but I believe Top 50 school in the USA. I worried about not being smart enough or not doing well enough leading up to starting classes. Now that college is about a decade behind me, it is very clear that smarts is far from key to success. You know what is…exactly what you’ve been doing. Working hard and being determined, responsible, persevering, putting in the extra effort, etc. Those are the people who go far in life. It will take you a little time to see it, but you will.

Having to be friends with your roommate is a big misconception. If you are friends, it is great, but honestly, as long as you are respectful and get along, it makes for a good experience. My freshman year roommate and I had so much in common on paper that it seemed like we should have been great friends, but we were not. We just were not compatible, but we got along and were very respectful of one another (using headphones to listen to music while the other studies or not having overnight guests, etc). Just have open communication and things will be fine. I also do not think people will give you **** for your religion. There may not be many people actively practicing their religion in college, but it is a time where individualism thrives and people aren’t as judgy…it isn’t high school.

You will be fine, this will come naturally in time.

If you have these talks with your roommate in advance, you’ll be just fine. If you don’t say that you are uncomfortable with overnight guests or drinking, etc she may assume you are, so just be upfront and nice about it.

Colleges are fine and not nearly as bad as people make them out to be in terms of partying. Sure immoral things happen, but you just find a group of friends that are into more wholesome things and you can avoid any of the other stuff that isn’t good. Stay focused on your studies and don’t compromise your morals.

In 4 years you’ll look back and realize you didn’t have a lot to worry about after all.

You remind me of my sweet daughter…your worries are normal, trust me, I work in the field of education. Change is always hard especially when you set high standards for yourself. You have a STRONG relationship with God - rest assured that He is with you every step of the way! Don’t jump into a lot at first. It can be overwhelming. I would encourage you to not stay in your room. Even studying in the library will help you be around others and feel part of the community. There also may be a church close to campus that has a college group - check it out. Take care~

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit