The uncertainty, the trepidation, the apprehension, the feeling of sickness in the pit of your stomach, it’s the first day. People tell you “it will be grand”, “everything will be okay”, “going to college will be the best experience of your life”, “you’ll meet so many interesting people”, “you’ll make so many new friends” and “your mind will be opened up to so many new ideas”, but they fail to prepare you for the anxiety and dread of the first day. Age or past experiences do little to alleviate the feelings of uneasiness or uncertainty. You are overwhelmed by fear, your thoughts are plagued by questions like “will I make friends”, “who will I talk to”, “how difficult will the course be” or more importantly “will I be able for it”.
A famous poet once said that “no man is an island”; he obviously was not referring to the first day of college. For in first few hours, we are all islands, isolated by fear, surrounded by a sea of uncertainty and despair. We go through the motions, conversing for the sake of conversing, hesitant to show our true selves or true feelings, our vulnerabilities are exposed, while all the time, the haunting questions resonate in the back of our minds.
However, as the hours pass and the tides of uncertainty begins to recede, causeways based upon budding friendships begin to develop and the students are no longer islands, but they become continents, united by this shared experience. However, these events do not transpire without losses, there are inevitably causalities along the way, like islands eroded by the waves of anxiety and fear, lost to the sea of doubt forever. One wonders if preventive measures were implemented, could some of these losses have been avoided.
As the days and weeks elapse and calmness ensues, the friendships that were forged on the first day become stronger and new ones develop and the feelings of fear, uncertainty and insecurity experienced on the first days become an all too distant memory.