Whether we're starting college for the very first time, final year Law students, or even a 27-year-old mature student, it can be a scary place. The best advice most "experienced" people can offer is to be confident and be yourself. It's all a bit vague though, isn't it?
"Why yes, Aunty Mary, I'll be really confident when I start next week and I'll make sure to make loads of friends and be the life and soul of every party on my way to getting all the 1st Class Honours." I bet you've had that mental conversation every time your Aunty Mary (let's be honest, we all have an aunt called Mary) imparted her well-meaning nuggets of wisdom. But here at College Times, we have the top-secret, three point plan to building real confidence that can see you through the rest of your life, even in the big, bad world after college.
1) Fake It 'Til You Make It
Some of us suffer from low self-esteem, lack confidence and are socially anxious from the word go. Some of us have our confidence shattered completely through bad experiences. True self-confidence is unshakeable, unbreakable and un-takeaway-able. It essentially means that you're not afraid to fail. Building it up is a drawn out process, but doesn't actually take too much willpower to achieve. Whether it's making friends, talking to your dream girl, deciding to change your college course, ending a bad relationship or applying for a new job, don't be afraid to fail. Leaving your comfort zone for the first time is hard, but talking to THAT girl or guy, airing your opinion when it's different to everyone else or even, for some of us, making a phone call (it's OK, we swear) all gets that bit easier when you do your best, and let failure roll off your back like it's nothing. Being bad at one thing is the first step in being great at something else (like having real confidence).
2) Accepting Failure As A Fresh Start
In other words, learn from your mistakes. This is the one bit of advice from our parents and teachers and mentors and coaches and EVERYONE that we're all guilty of ignoring. It's difficult not to have baggage and it's easy to give up when something blows up in your face. And here's the thing; IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT. We've all been conditioned to see failure as the end of the road. The successful, confident and not to mention, rich and famous people of this world, have all come back from the very bottom. When someone closes a door, try again later. If it's still locked, smash it down. And the happy, confident, easy livin', laidback world citizens we all know and love are the other side of the coin; they don't let failure bother them. The thing to realise is that life goes on when you fail. Time is on your side here.
3) You Matter
Everyone has something to offer the world, so don't for one second believe that what you have isn't good enough. Your opinions are valid, your choices don't belong to anyone else and the people in your life that matter shouldn't try and break your new-found confidence. You should love yourself, and if you don't, then take some time to get to know yourself on every level. When you love your own fine ass, you'll be able to look after yourself when life gets tough.
So go forth and be confident. And always remember: