Summer vacation is over and that means school is back in session. As we pack for college to start a new semester, we get excited about this new chapter of our lives. And while high school was very challenging to figure out, college will be a new challenge and an entire different ball game. Although people have to learn things on their own, there are certain things that I wish that I knew before starting my very first semester of college.
#1: High School Rules Don’t Apply In College
This first piece of advice is perhaps the most important. I know that you might have been class president or Mr. Popular guy or maybe even the smartest person in your high school, but that was high school. When you get to college, you are going to learn that they are a lot more people in this world than you can ever imagine and it is no longer all about you. High school rules just don’t apply to college. People may have held you on a pedestal in your hometown, but no one is going to do that when you get to college. Everyone is on an equal playing field.
#2: The Freshman 15 is Real
Being able to eat whatever you want whenever you want is great and this is what leads to your clothes slowly getting tighter and tighter. Trust me when I say gaining weight is inevitable. I gained weight. Everyone around you will gain weight. It’s going to happen. We are getting older, but you can help take control of it by making a plan to go the gym at least twice a week. Use the gym. You’ve paid for it.
#3: You Will Lose Touch With People
I know you have been to school with these people for years and you all have created so many happy memories, but the simple fact is, everyone that you hung out with in high school is not going to be in your life forever and that’s okay. You are all starting your adult lives. There is nothing wrong with going in different directions and losing touch with these people. It’s life. Everyone has to grow up.
#4: Everyone Is Not Your Friend
The movies are definitely not telling the truth when it comes to social circles in college. It’s very unlikely that you are going to have a huge group of friends that you hang out with and if you do, it won’t be like that for long. In college, you’ll learn that not everyone has to be your friend. Find people who will stick by your side and move on. And trust me when I say it’s okay if you only make one good friend in college. One good friend is better than dozens of people drifting in and out of your life.
#5: Get To Know Your Professors
I know in high school we called it kissing up, but everyone does it in college. Or everyone should do it. Professors are the people who will have a huge influence in your education and possibly the direction that you go with your career. Talk to them. Go to their office hours. Get to know them because at the end of these four years you are going to need connections, references, and recommendations.
#6: It’s Hard Being Away From Home
More than likely, college will be your first time away from home and by that I mean taking care of yourself. You don’t have parents looking after your every move so it’s now up to you to make your own decisions as well as figuring things out on your own. It’s scary at first especially if you aren’t used to being on your own. Like me, I decided to move four hours away from home which was both the best decision of my life but also the scariest decision. It’s hard not having your parents to rely on, but that’s part of being an adult. If you find yourself having problems that you need your parents for, just pick up the phone.
#7: You Need To Figure Out What You Want To Do With Your Life
In the beginning of your college career, you’re going to have to take general education course requirements. This is both good and bad. In doing this, you get a well rounded education and you get to decide what type of classes you like, but you are going to have to take some classes that you don’t like. In my case, math and science. But the time that you have while you take these general classes is not time to not pay attention. During this time, you need to be deciding what it is you went to college for. You don’t have forever because before you know it your four years are going to be over and you want to be sure you choose a major that best fits you.
Although these are the things that I wish I would have known before going to college, if someone had told me these things before going away, I wouldn’t have believed them. That’s because you never really know until you experience it for yourself. My advice is that you make the most of your college experience. Make mistakes and take risks. Good luck and make it count!
Photo Image by Stephen Bergin