You know that little tingling feeling inside of you when you’re really nervous, like little butterflies fluttering and spreading their pixie dust all over? Like it is sort of terrifying but it is also sort of exciting, but mostly just nerve-wrecking because you don’t really know what to expect but you want to get it done and over with so you jump right into it anyway, you know? Well, if you really can’t relate, I applaud you for being so brave but if you can, I will applaud you anyway but yes welcome on board because these are the exact same feelings I have had to endure when I first started in Monash and to be honest, I was just not into it in the beginning. But over the years, things changed and I started to adapt and fit in and ultimately everything went well and believe me, it is going to play out right for you as well so fret not because very soon, you will be dancing your way to class with your bunch of friends and your bag packs dangling from side to side like how most of our bags do.
Ok no, that’s a silly impression I am making of our bags. And no, we don’t really dance all the way to class – more like DRAG ourselves to class but nah, it is really not that bad. The campus is relatively small so you don’t really have to jump on a buggy to get from one class to another though I would have loved it if we did have a buggy system because I am just lazy. Maybe an on-campus LRT would be a good idea too but that would be inconvenient with the lack of space and all so no, not a good idea.
We should have an underground subway system instead.
Can you picture the scene, with the announcement, “Train from Front Gate to Lecture Theatre 6 arriving in 5 minutes. Please stand behind the yellow line” and then all of us lazy ducklings just scramble down the staircase to catch the train that is headed to a destination that’s literally 30 seconds away by foot. Oh the wonders of revolution I tell you!
Okay I am done rambling and here goes. Dear freshmen, as a student who has gone through the exact same thing you guys are going through, I would just like to say, whether you are afraid and worried or happy about immersing yourself in this brand new university experience, especially if you are new to it, just know that it is alright and it is perfectly normal to experience especially as new little ducklings and by ducklings I mean you cute people so relax.
1) To feel terrified.
Being a part of something new can be very terrifying for some people, especially when you don’t know what to expect and how to react to it. It is not something everyone would feel but if it is something you experience, don’t beat yourself up for it. You just need time to soak everything in before you start realising that it is an adventure that is like no other. Alright this sounds like I am preparing you for a roller coaster ride that goes across the Himalayas but believe me, university life is just as thrilling, if not more. Fear is good at times because it keeps you on alert and that is normal when you are this new little baby in a brand new setting but it will fade in the long run and before you know it, you will be a falcon soaring through the skies above the campus and you would be so proud of yourself. But just don’t attempt to fly like a falcon literally please because obviously it’s a figure of speech and you definitely can’t fly like a majestic falcon *rolls eyes*.
2) Butterflies in your stomach
You know, it is understandable if you are nervous about making new friends on your first day. Maybe you are not sure who you would click better with or if you should speak to that lonely cute boy or girl sitting by the bench near the foyer before you both start the semester and lose all reasons to speak to each other. Unless you are both doing the same course I guess, or are in the same class or maybe if you sit next to each other in the canteen or in the library, or maybe at the bus stop or maybe – okay, maybe you won’t be losing all reasons to talk to each other but you get me right? So it is pretty nerve-wrecking and you would probably feel like you are not sure if you want to do it and that’s alright. You don’t have to talk to the cute guy – he probably already has a girlfriend anyway. Or a boyfriend, I don’t know. But you see, I am missing the point here. Being nervous is natural and it’s a human thing because just like fear, we are not sure what to expect and believe me, it can be very stressful so I would say, do what you think would make you feel better in the long run.
If not engaging with anyone is not going to affect you in the long run, don’t do it. Go for a jog instead. But if you feel that it might, take the initiative to make the first move – they are not going to bite. It may seem a little awkward at first but it will turn into something really nice once you realise how much of things you both might share in common and before you know it, you will probably be the best of friends and ready take on the world together like the Kardashians!
If you have been looking forward to come to Monash since like A-levels or high school or like kindergarten or something, then obviously it is a feeling you will not be able to contain and we all know that because like come on, since pre-school??
Unleash it and show us how much you want to be here! Go have fun, participate in clubs and games and talk to as many people as you can! Tell the girl sitting alone that she can join you and your friends for lunch! Tell the lecturer she looks nice today! Thank the cleaners for doing a good job! Dance around, breathe in the fresh air (ok no) of Bandar Sunway that seeps through the gates of Monash and have the time in your life feasting in the cafeteria because you see, life is short and there is no reason for you not to celebrate the opportunity to embark on this journey as a student, an opportunity that is special and not something everyone else can experience. And to top all this, let this excitement drive you to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself and let it inspire you to inspire others to do the same.
4) Angry or Sad
First of all, are you going to be okay?
It is comprehendible that students feel this way especially when they are so far away from the comfort of their own homes and away from family members and their cute pets and cactuses in the garden and it is an emotion that you cannot suppress sometimes. You will often be agitated and lonely and you would be filled up to the brim with a huge mix of different feelings and it is okay to let it out. Not everyone takes it easy, but believe me, you will ultimately face up to it because quoting some dude who said this “you will never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have” and while this sounds like a quote I would repeat to a soldier going for a war, I guess it could also apply to some of us here, especially if it is our first time away from the fam bam (your family basically). You will slowly develop trust and build relationships and once you find your place and start being independent, you would finally understand that you are stronger than you think and the ability to do that will ultimately make you a better person. So don’t worry, let it happen and get on the phone as much as you need until you realise that you would want to do this because it is your future and you want to make the best of this opportunity. Till then, let the emotions run free and don’t pretend to be happy if you know it will only make you more sad. Talk to someone, visit a park, keep yourself occupied – it will all get better.
Fun fact: – I was very lonely when I first came to Monash so to overcome that, I would take the bus ride and go around Subang Jaya to calm myself down because people-watching was my thing and it was really nice to see the world move right before you. But now I am just really occupied with work so there’s no time for bus rides anymore. Unless it is on campus, from one lecture theatre to another, then I would love that. Basically, I am really lazy to walk and I think this whole write-up has a lot of emphasis on that.
Have fun new kids!
Words by Calvin Fernandez
Pictures by Andrew Peter Lim