For most incoming college students, arriving on campus for the first time can sometimes prove to be an overwhelming experience. Being in a strange, new place far from home can often feel daunting and scary, and the thought of taking on challenging academics while balancing a social life, physical wellbeing and other hobbies can quickly seem like an insurmountable task.

Thankfully, those who experience these feelings are not alone. The uncomfortable feeling of being far from home is one that has been widely experienced throughout human history, and is a theme that has inspired many great books throughout time.

These books serve as a way for authors to communicate with their readers about how they approached feeling these same fears and the successes and failures they experienced along the way. If you can relate to feeling anxious as you prepare to take the first step in your Badger journey, these entertaining books might have the encouragement you need.

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“The Martian” by Andy Weir

If being new to the University of Wisconsin makes you homesick, you can count yourself lucky that you at least get to stay on Earth. The same can not be said for Mark Watney, a fictional astronaut who becomes stranded on Mars in “The Martian.” With little food or supplies, Watney has to use his ingenuity and will to survive to make it off of Mars alive.

Watney tries to make contact with those he loves as he finds new ways to survive in the alien environment. So if UW ever makes you feel like an astronaut surviving in outer space, maybe calling home — or reading “The Martian” — can be a step in the right direction.

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“The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien

The lesser known prequel to the Lord of The Rings series, “The Hobbit” tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a peaceful creature who suddenly finds himself roped into a far away adventure with a group of dwarves. While at first Baggins is timid and afraid of the dangerous world outside his front door, he quickly finds he is braver than he ever thought. 

Baggins’ story in “The Hobbit” goes to show that, while the world beyond your comfort zone may seem scary, the hardest part in any great adventure is taking the first step out your front door.

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“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” follows the story of Arthur Dent, a man who is rescued by an alien moments before the destruction of the Earth. Though Arthur is originally dismayed by this occurrence, he quickly becomes accustomed to the wider universe — a place full of strange but hilarious inhabitants.

In this lighthearted story, Adams makes a joke of life, the universe and everything, showing a wayward space traveler has nothing to fear as long as they are in possession of a towel.

Similarly, it’s important not to take your arrival at college too seriously. You’ll soon come to find, like the expanses of space, college is not so bad once you get there, as long as you know where your towel is.

While these three books may help you through whatever nerves you have about coming to campus, know that exciting adventures lie ahead with the simple prospect of turning the page.