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Overcoming freshman anxiety

Freshman anxiety is eased with group activities, says BU psychologist David Seeman

Health Matters

Arriving on campus freshman year can be both exciting and frightening. With adjustments to make, classes to attend, and friends to meet, some first-year students can find the experience overwhelming.

It is important for freshmen to realize that it’s normal to be anxious and fearful when they come to college, says Boston University Health Services psychologist David Seeman. “There is a lot of peer pressure to be independent and to jump right into the college routine,” he says. “However, it’s good to acknowledge that sometimes you are scared.”

Seeman suggests that freshmen avoid setting too many expectations for their first year of college, and instead approach it with an open mind. “Everyone is different, so there is no one right way to make the transition from high school to college. It’s important not to get caught up in the mindset that there is only one right way,” he says. “It’s natural to think your freshman year has to be perfect, but be careful, because when you set these high expectations, you don’t allow yourself room to experiment and make mistakes.”

To help with the transition from high school to BU, some freshmen pack pictures, stuffed animals, and anything else that reminds them of home. But also important for first-year students, Seeman says, is to get involved in groups and activities on campus, and to invite parents to visit them at BU rather than going home during the first few months. “You have to give yourself a chance," he says, "to make a new home at BU."

One of the best ways to get over homesickness, according to Seeman, is to join a club and meet people who share your interests. There are more than 400 student groups on campus to choose from. To find out what is available, attend the Fall Activities Expo on Wednesday, September 21, from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Metcalf Ballroom at the George Sherman Union.

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