Are you excited about taking the next step in your education journey but feeling overwhelmed, too?

Don’t panic. There are Student Services in place to help you figure everything out.

Finally! You’re getting closer and closer to graduating from high school. And it’s only taken what feels like forever. But soon, you’ll be starting the next chapter of your education. You’ve been waiting so long for this. Working hard for it. Ready to move on and become more independent. Make your own choices and do your own thing.

And then… you get there. Pretty soon, you’re trying to find your way around a strange place or a huge campus filled with one massive, unfamiliar building after another. There’s a ton of work you need to do, this paper to write and that test to take. You look around and everyone seems to know where they’re going, what they’re doing, who to talk to and where they need to go. And suddenly you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing here, where you’re going, and who in the world can you talk to who would even understand what you’re feeling right now, anyway?

The good news is that you don’t have to worry. It’s totally cool. Because yeah, you’ll probably be working harder than you ever have before, but you are not on your own. There are support systems in place at almost every school called Student Services that are free and run by people who care about your well-being, who want to offer you a safe and nonjudgmental space to help you figure out whatever comes your way. Everything from making sure you’re taking the right classes for your major and how to overcome test anxiety, to dealing with homesickness, stepping in to help settle roommate disputes and even inviting you to blow off some steam with other students by attending really fun social events like movie and game nights, segway tours of the city you’re in, and trips to the ballfield.

The point is that if you put in the effort, you’re not going to fail. You’ve got this. Your school wants you to succeed. And they know that the transition out of high school and on to higher education is exciting but can be tough. Really tough. Not everyone immediately adjusts to this next chapter in their life, and they get that. So, to stress out about it is also totally normal.

“The transition from high school to post-secondary gives students a lot more balls to juggle,” says Shelley Scherer, Associate Executive Director of The Pittsburgh Promise. “Students have to navigate a new academic environment and a new social scene and living situation. It’s a lot to manage and overwhelms almost everyone at some point, particularly during the first year. That’s why we require our Preferred College Partners to provide our students with more than just an additional room and board award. Our experience and recent research show that students need more than money to attain a post-secondary degree—they need access to robust and meaningful academic and social support services.”

The way to make it less overwhelming is to take advantage of as many Student Services as you need to. Sign up for that networking movie night with student alumni, find a place that feels safe and comfortable for you and spend time there, and most importantly, talk to people about how you’re feeling. Chances are pretty good that they’re probably feeling the same way you are. Or, have been there, done that, and can offer you some perspective on things.

“There are so many benefits of using a college’s services, like planning out your upcoming semester, networking with faculty and other professionals that have years of experience that can guide you to what you need,” says Promise Executive Scholar, and La Roche College sophomore Rebecca Boles, who’s majoring in biology. “They are not just working to help me, but they work to make all students grow in and out of the college. And when we finally graduate, we know who takes credit in helping us. In the end, you don’t want to waste all those semesters not asking and talking with people to better yourself and your college experience.”

And don’t forget that it’s just as important to take care of yourself as it is to go to class, get your work done, and study. You definitely need to carve out some time to relax and do stuff that you love to do, even if it’s as simple as watching your favorite television show or hanging out with friends; things that always make you feel good.

“My advice to students is to consider what they enjoyed being a part of in high school and testing that out on their college campus,” says Duquesne University’s Director of Freshman Development Adam Wasilko. “For example, many students come to Duquesne having had great experiences on an athletic team and join our intramural leagues or student government if they had a passion for that in high school. You will find like-minded students and form a community of people with the same goals as yourself. That tends to ease the anxiety and homesickness that sometimes happen while being away at college for the first time.”

And sometimes, what can help ease a lot of tension is to take the time, energy, and effort to do things that seem obvious, but can make a world of difference in your overall experience.

“Go to class every day,” says CCAC sophomore and graphic design major Kenneth Edmonds. “Sit in front of the class. I feel like when you sit in front of the classroom, you’re the first person the teacher looks at. So, when you raise your hand, they see you first. Just experience it.”

So, no matter where you land after high school, don’t ever feel weird about reaching out and asking for help.

Maybe you just need a little boost to get through those math classes. Maybe you need to spend your first year in close contact with guidance counselors. Just don’t freak out. Take it step by step, do what you need to do, and don’t forget that you’re never, ever alone.