Every incoming freshman is nervous to start college, but writers have a special set of fears. Questions about fitting in and standing out — and everything in between — might be on your mind this summer. Here are some answers to your queries:
1. Will there be other writers?
This sounds crazy, but if you’re not going to be a writing major, but still love writing, it can be anxiety-inducing to think about not meeting other writers. In high school you may have only met a few other writers. Though I am a Writing Seminars major at Johns Hopkins, I was still worried about a lack of community. It’s a natural fear. Everyone needs a group of people who share similar interests. The good news is that college campuses are overflowing with all different kinds of people who are into all different kinds of things, and writing is no exception! At your school there will most likely be literary magazines, newspapers, and all sorts of other clubs filled with people who love to write like you do.
2. Did I pick the right classes?
This is especially applicable if you’re going to be a writing major. The classes you pick for your first semester of freshman year are extremely important, and choosing is a nerve-wracking experience. You want to make sure you have a well-rounded schedule that also allows you to take writing classes. Do you want to focus on fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or any other specific type of writing? Would you work best with a male or female professor? A tiny seminar or a larger class? Because you get to pick your classes, you can answer all these questions through a class that fits all your needs.
3. Did I write enough over the summer?
The ability to write creatively is a muscle—it needs to be stretched and flexed. If you didn’t get much practice over the summer, you’ll likely feel a little nervous going to school—where you’re going to be graded on your creative work. The good news is it’s okay!! Writing for a grade after a summer of not doing so will be an adjustment, but you can handle it. Freshman writing classes probably have learning curves, designed to get you back into the groove of writing all the time. And if you’re worried right now about not being prepared, you could always start writing. Summer’s not over. Better late than never!
4. Did I read enough over the summer?
This is the same thing—reading a lot helps every writer learn to write, figure out which styles they prefer, and develop a taste for their favorite authors. If you didn’t have time to make it through every recommend book on your list this summer (or just The New York Times bestseller list), have no fear—opportunities to read will be everywhere at school! There’s always a reading to complete for class or a new book your friend just finished. It’s easy to get back into the heavy reading swing. And, you could always reread your favorites in preparation for heading to school in August!
5. Will my work be picked for the literary magazine, or will I be elected editor of the paper?
If you’re like me, writing was a big part of your life in high school. I contributed to our literary magazine every year and was Editor in Chief of the paper. Going into my freshman year at Hopkins, I wondered if I’d be able to achieve the same level of involvement. The good news I did, and you can!! There are more opportunities to live the life of a writer in college—more clubs, organizations and papers to join. Regardless of whether you’re a writing major, college is an oasis for the student writer. This one shouldn’t be a fear at all!