Being a new student
“At the first year [of the study], I pulled away from others [if feeling pressured], and if I look back, it was definitely the hardest year I have experienced. Now [at 4th year of study] I can easily tell others that I am pressured, but it also depends on who it is; it is not everyone I will tell that I feel pressured.” – CBS Student
Normalizing doubts and insecurities
It is very common to feel insecure at a new study program and many will also experience periods where they doubt if they have chosen the right degree. When we interview students we hear how common it is, but also that many are afraid to share it with the other students in their program.
Sharing with others – helps you and others
We encourage you to share and ask each other about these topics, because it can help make the feelings easier. Many students share that they feel a relief when they hear others also have difficulties, insecurities and doubts. When sharing students help each other a great deal. As one student explained: “When others say that they also feel pressured from an assignment, it is nice to know, that you are not alone in that experience, and that it is not strange that you have difficulties.”
In an Instagram live-poll done among 200 Cand.soc. students at CBS, 94% answered yes to the question that “It is a relief when others say that they also have a hard time.”
Lack of well-being and stress is more common among new students.
Our research has found that particularly new students are more likely to feel overwhelmed and insecure as they embark on a whole new study life, and for some, it can lead to stress and decrease in their well-being.
Learning to study
The transition from high school to university is a big change for many. In interviews many students explain that then feel that they have to “learn how to study” at this new level and pace. Many things are new, the topics, the methods to learn and study, and the environment full of new people. It is not surprising that the first period in a new study program contributes to more doubts and insecurities among students.
In the beginning I thought it was horrible [to take exams], because you hadn’t tried it before and it was all new, and you had to figure out what was the best way to prepare for exams. When the first exam period was over, I had gained some experience, the next exam period was easier.” – CBS Student
Material to explore on this topic
We have different materials on this site specifically focused on the challenges of being a new student. For example, in the dialogue cards developed to address the question of well-being among students, that can help facilitate some good conversations in groups about insecurities and difficulties, one theme is related to being a new student. Furthermore, there are a few relevant videos. In a series of four short videos CBS students share what they would like to tell new students and what they would have liked to know when they started. In another video a HA(phil.) student Sarah Marcussen talks to Pernille about the doubts she had regarding the choice of study program in her first year, which lead to a lot of worries, and how in the end, she arrived at changing her program.