Conquering First-Day Anxiety With Uncertainty Management Theory
Everyone may experience dreadful first-day anxiety, whether, it is with a new job, new school semester or new situation. That word new scares everyone. By the end of the day, week or month the anxiety usually settles down because the worst of what we were thinking was a lot less bad than we thought. Although, what if there was a way to calm the anxiety before it gets out of hand.
Anxiety stems from uncertainty because when we are not fully aware of how something is going to go and it is natural for us to not like change we avoid it as much as possible. There are a few types of uncertainty we can be aware of which are task, relationship, organization and power. If we look at these we can find tips for ourselves to ground ourselves for the first day jitters.
In the book, Organizational Communication a Lifespan Approach Second Edition by Michael W. Kramer and Ryan S. Bisel they focus a lot on this theory. When we take the time to learn about something and completely understand it we do not feel the need to be nervous about it anymore. On the first day sometimes it is harder to do so because it is harder to know what to expect. There are a few things through this theory that can help manage the anxiety experienced from going through it.
You can manage the day by creating a planner. For example, in college most professors will send you a first-day syllabus before the week of the class starts to give you a heads up. Going through this syllabus can give you an understanding of what this class has in store, what assignments you will be doing and when everything will be due in the semester. By reducing the uncertainty of what you are walking into you are managing what your first day will be like. So writing this all out in a planner is a great wait to manage the uncertainty.
Another way you can manage this uncertainty is by finding something to look forward to channeling all your anxiety into excitement. If you are looking forward to making a difference with a new job or starting a new class because you are one step closer to graduating it gets your mind off of the uncertainty. For example, when starting a new major one might be nervous about if they will like it better than the last or if they have made a mistake. That first day, week or month will give you a better understanding of that major and there you will find your answer, but until then you can look forward to the possibility that it was the best decision for you.
Planning and channeling anxiety into excitement has always been the top two tips for me to manage my life in college and work. Every semester has a first day, week and month and I always follow these to get me through it. They are my tried and true and after reading and researching this theory it made all the more sense.