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Nervous about starting school? Me, too. Here’s how I deal with it

(Illustration by Emil Friis Ernst)

Blog |   01. Sep 2021

Caroline Sølver


It’s the end of August and if you’re reading this, the chances are that you might be in the middle of starting school at CBS. Congratulations! The chances are also that you might be feeling butterflies and nerves.

How do I know? Because I’m starting school and I’m slightly nervous to say the least. New people, new surroundings, new classes. It’s very much out of most people’s comfort zone to show up at school, possibly without knowing anyone, having to blend in, make friends and get ready to start studying.

I am not only nervous because it’s a daunting situation. I am also nervous because I tried it before. Five years ago, I started my bachelor studies at CBS and had a full, overloaded week of an intro program. I did my very best to bring my happiest, most outgoing self to the intro program, but inside I felt like I was having a nervous breakdown.

Will I end up sitting alone in the lecture halls because I am left out?

All the questions went through my head. Will I make friends? Will they like me? Will I end up sitting alone in the lecture halls because I am left out? My nervousness wasn’t really related to the actual studying but more the social part of it.

Maybe it’s just linked to my personally type. When I was 8 years old, I started a new school. I didn’t eat for two weeks prior to that because I was so nervous and looking at pictures from my first day of school, I am pale, super skinny from not eating and clearly nervous.

Of course, all my first days of school went fine. I made friends, survived, enjoyed, laughed, cried, studied, passed.

However, facing the introduction of my new master’s program, all the nerves are back. That’s why I’m writing this guide – not just as a reminder for myself, but also for all the people out there that might be feeling just how I feel.

Hopefully this blog post can help you prepare and manage your nerves, so you can leave them at home and have a great start to your new studies.

  • Being nervous is completely normal

Let’s first establish that being nervous is completely normal. It’s purely a sign that it’s a challenge and that something is at stake. Most people would be nervous if they have to enter a program and mingle with tons of new people.

  • Channel your nerves into an exciting challenge

The key is to use the power of your nervousness and channel those nerves into an exciting challenge. So far, I’ve channeled my nerves into making sure I am well prepared. I’ve prepared my notes program with a great overview of the classes, fixed my calendar and laid out a strategy with intentions for the next semester.

I’ve also made sure to enjoy my summer to the fullest, as I know that this is the time to enjoy before a semester of busy studying starts.

This has all helped me get excited for what’s to come.

  • Change your thoughts

My brain is boiling over with angst-ridden thoughts. Will I make friends? Will they like me? Will I sit alone in the lecture room? As CBS is a school that values group work, it is quite important that you engage with the other students.

This fact ultimately makes it easier to make study friends as you’re somewhat forced into it.

Your brain tends to believe the input you give it

In this situation, that’s great because it leaves the hard work of making friends, not just up to you, but to everyone, and the social aspect is also established by the school.

So instead of thinking those crazy, angst-ridden thoughts, I try to change them into a more positive mindset. I tell myself “You always make friends at school, so of course you’ll make friends here”, “everyone is just as nervous”, “just be the best version of yourself”.

While it’s easier said than done to actually believe those thoughts when nervous, and to get completely rid of the negative thoughts, it definitely helps to change your mindset. Your brain tends to believe the input you give it.

  • Everyone is in the same boat

Another thought that helps me with the anxiety of starting a new program is the fact that everyone is in the same boat. If I’m feeling nervous, the chances are that most of the other new students are feeling this nervousness as well. This notion can help you feel at ease because you’re not alone.

  • Enjoy the ride

Often, it’s your expectations and fears that make you nervous. Like the days and moments leading up to an important event such as an exam, a job interview, or in this case, starting school. Once you get there and the moment is on and happening, the nerves seem to vanish and you’re simply dealing with the situation you’re in, the best way you can.

You’ll be a star, and so will I! Enjoy the ride

Nervous on the inside doesn’t mean that it shows on the outside. When we have to perform, we tend to do better than we think. My strategy is to be open, outgoing, smiling, talkative and hopefully these characteristics will help me socialize and make it a better experience not just for me but for the other students who’re also nervous.

Once you’ve survived the introduction period and the first few weeks, you’ll look back and think that you didn’t need to feel nervous because everything worked out just fine.

You’ll be a star, and so will I! Enjoy the ride.


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