Kathleen Moyer | July 24, 2014
There are certain expectations all incoming first year students have when entering college. After all, you have been flooded with information about college since your junior year of high school. or even before that. However, there are some things many students only learn once they begin their college careers. They include:
1. It’s not like movies.
Your college experience won’t be like Animal House or Neighbors, even if you want it to be like that. While you may party a lot in college, there is more to college than partying. You’ll actually have classes. That fact is not represented well in college-themed movies. Also, most people you meet in college won’t look like they just walked off of a runway in Milan. If you have any unrealistic expectations for college based on movies, let go of them or you’ll be disappointed.
2. Coffee is your best friend.
Before college, I absolutely hated coffee. I didn’t understand how anyone could drink more than a few sips of coffee. My coffee-drinking friends told me that I would drink it all the time when I got to college. I told them that was never going to happen. I was so wrong. I now drink coffee virtually every day and feel drowsy whenever I don’t have it…which is probably bad. However, if you don’t already, I’d be willing to bet that you’ll start drinking coffee or some other for caffeine religiously once you start pulling all-nighters.
3. Homework is much different.
In high school, you had assignments such as “Complete the exercise in your Spanish workbook”, “Use each vocabulary word in a sentence”, and “Complete 20 math problems in your textbook”. In college, the large majority of your assignments will involve a lot of writing. You’ll have so many essays that they’ll drive you crazy. Therefore, if you don’t consider writing your strong suit, coffee and the Sheekey Writing Center can be your BFFs.
5. You may not find your soul mate in college.
A lot of people go into college expecting to meet their soul mate there. Some people actually do, and it’s great for them. Many others don’t, and some believe that if you don’t find someone who’s right for you before you graduate, you never will, because you won’t meet as many people after college. This just isn’t true. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet people after college, and shouldn’t feel the need to settle in college just because you don’t want to be alone after you graduate.
4. There’s a self-created uniform.
One thing many high school students look forward to in college is the lack of uniform. I remember how much I wanted to be rid of my sardine colored jumper, ill-fitting Mister Rogers sweater, and Frankenstein shoes. However, when I got to college I noticed that everyone dresses similarly anyway. Girls wear UGGS, Victoria Secret PINK yoga pants, Victoria Secret PINK hoodies, North Face jackets, and floral/paisley Vera Bradly bags. Guys wear Nike Sneakers, basketball shorts (even when it’s 20 degrees), Under Armour/La Salle hoodies, and North Face jackets. I just find it funny how, when students no longer have a uniform, they create their own.
5. The depth of your student loan debt.
If you know that you’ll have to take out a student loan before you begin college, you understand that it will be a large sum of money and that you’ll be paying it off for a long time. However, it really hits you when you’re actually granted the loan and see the figures right in front of your face. That’s the moment when you curl up in a ball, cry, and realize that being an adult sucks.
6. Some people change in college.
Some of your friends may change throughout college. Their lifestyles may become completely different than when you met them. If your lifestyle and a friend’s lifestyle become very different, that may drive a wedge between the two of you. You may not be able to recognize your friend anymore because he/she has become a completely different person. I know this from experience. Although the loss of a friendship can be painful, it may be for the best in the end. If you have nothing in common with your friend anymore, there would have been no way for the friendship to move forward anyway. Sometimes people change and friends grow apart. It’s a sad part of life that everyone must experience at one point or another.
7. You will meet some of the best friends ever.
While some of your friendships may unfortunately end in college, others may last your entire lives. You’ll meet some of the best friends ever in college. Your adventures and downtimes with them will help to make your college experience extremely enjoyable and memorable. They’ll help you through everything from finals breakdowns to bad breakups. It’s important to keep those people, who stand by you, in your life. Although you may live in completely different areas of the country, or even the world, make sure you stay in touch with them after graduation.
These are just some of the things that I find many students experience when they begin college. You will not necessarily experience all of these things, and there are some things I didn’t mention which you may experience. The point is that you will experience some things in college that you aren’t expecting at the moment; some serious, some funny, some sad, some strange, and some enjoyable. Throughout all of them you have to make the most of your college experience. I think that most of you will enjoy your college experiences, despite the ups and downs. If you have been in college for a semester or more, and learned some other unexpected things when you began your college career, feel free to share them in the comments!