Before going to college, I unknowingly had so many expectations on what my college experience was going to be like. You can’t help but base some of your expectations on movies and old stories from parents back in the “good ol’ days.” Yet at the same time, I knew I had absolutely no clue on what I would be walking into. There are certain aspects about college that truly are amazing and other things that force you to take a step back and actively decide between certain paths to take. So this blog post goes out to all you seniors in high school and new freshman in college. Here are the 8 things people never actually told my friends and I about college. The 8 things I wish freshman Marcela knew when she was going into college.
1. “You’ll have so much free time”…sike!
Whoever decided to spread the rumor about having free time in college is either lying or needs to get a life. Plain and simple. I know this sounds harsh but hear me out. There are so many fun things to do in college that it can be a true struggle to find enough hours in the day to do everything you want plus your responsibilities and feeding yourself. Just ask any college student. Lunch is not a thing… there’s zero time for it. At the end of the day, it all comes down to choices. The choice of how to fill up your days, priorities, and values.
Tip: Make a list of things that are truly important to you within a week or a day. Whether it’s coordinating time for a school club, hanging with friends, or working out, make sure you schedule time to do the things that matter most to you. And learn to say no to the things that fall lower on your list.
2. Be conscious about your food
Bouncing off my last point, food can be kind of a struggle on a college campus. I know it sounds ridiculous, but myself and so many of my friends found it difficult to settle into a healthy eating schedule. Before you know it, you’re only getting hungry at 1 am when all the dining halls are closed, and you’re left with nothing but ramen and easy mac-n-cheese. Take time to make sure you are feeding yourself well and regularly.
Tip: Make sure you know what time all your dining halls close and open, so you don’t get left with late night munchies. It’s also a great way to get to know people in the first couple weeks by asking them grab food together. Everyone has to eat so why not get to know someone while you do?
3. The “Freshman 15” gets the boys too…
The topic of food brings me to my next point. And there are two very important things you must know. First off, the freshman 15 is very real and will bite ya in the a$$ if you don’t watch your habits. And second, the freshman 15 always gets the boys too. Sorry to disappoint. I know we all have this pre-conceived notion that college guys are insanely hotter than any other species of boy, but there is no metabolism that can stand a college boy’s alcohol consumption. By sophomore year, beer guts will be out and about…
Tip: Sorry no help for ya here…maybe only meet boys at the gym. If you figure it out maybe leave a note in the comments section down below lol
4. “None of your college professors will tolerate this…” HA. funny.
Now for some good news! High school teachers are 1000 times more strict than any college professor you will ever have. They are always trying to scare you into thinking they’re more lenient than college professor and our being tough to”prepare you for college.” And don’t even get me started on the whole asking to go to the bathroom thing… Meanwhile, college professors rarely take attendance and are cancelling class certain days they don’t feel like coming in. Don’t get me wrong, the work in college is way harder, but you become the boss of your own education which can allow you to get to know your professors as people.
Tip: Take advantage of a professor’s leniency on days you really need it! Make sure to go to class, but one or two mental health day skips won’t kill you either. Also, try to get to know your professor because more often than not, they are really cool people who are killing it in a career maybe you want to go into. Two words: OFFICE HOURS!
5. You are now on an academic rollercoaster. You can get off in 4 years.
With all that being said, the hardest thing about college that I was no where near close to ready for was the inconsistency of school work. You have two weeks of living your best life, tanning after class, going to workout classes with friends, and going out at night. Then out of the blue…you’re in hell. It’s Sunday morning, and you realize you have 3 major exams, 2 essays, a quiz, 3 different homework assignments, a group project, meetings after class, and by the way one of the coolest parties of the year in the same week. Trust me, no matter how good at school you are, it’s not irresponsibility. It’s college. When it rains, it pours.
Tip: Take a deep breath. Get an agenda. And learn to stay caffeinated because the best memories will come when you are least rested and have no time for fun.
6. If you don’t have at least one existential crisis, you’re doing it wrong.
There will be moments in college where you are forced to do a complete 180 and reevaluate everything. Majors will be changed. Motivation will be nonexistent. And, there will be heavy consideration of dropping out and becoming a stripper. College is the time for you to get to know yourself and find out who you are, what you would like want to become, and where you would like to go. And that takes this kind of self-reflection. Each year is drastically different from the other, but the inconsistency teaches you how to roll with life’s punches. I like to call them growing pains :).
Tip: When I get really stressed out, I like to ask myself if what I am stressing over will matter in 5 years. If the answer is no, I try not to let myself stress out more than 5 minutes. Easier said than done, but it helps. Take a break and try blowing off some steam by working out or taking a shower to reset your mind.
7. Girls are nicer to you, but that doesn’t mean you’re nicer to yourself.
I think it’s safe to say that high school isn’t majority of people’s favorite time in the world. Girls in high school can be mean and judgmental, and for the most part a lot of that stops in college. With that being said, negative self-talk and old insecurities can carry into college. But, no one likes that one girl that fishes for compliments by insulting herself. It’s cheesy but confidence will take you farther than you know.
Tip: Start implementing some positive self- talk and learn to be your best cheer leader. Learn to be kind and patient to yourself. I promise it will help you out more than you know during those difficult times (aka finals).
8. FOMO ain’t a lie
There will be times when you feel lonelier than you can ever imagine. Other times you’ll feel so ultimately happy being around so many people you love, yet you can’t get a second of alone time. There were times where I felt extremely lonely or homesick in college, but there is a strength that comes with learning to enjoy your own company. Sometimes you don’t feel like going to the party or have a huge exam the next day. Then you end up with the biggest FOMO, but you have to learn to prioritize yourself first.
Tip: Learn to cherish both being alone and not getting a second of alone time. Accept that present for what it is. Learn to love spending time with yourself and charge your battery if you need it. You’ll learn to appreciate more the time spent with loved ones once you do.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear about the things ya’ll wish you knew before going to college in the comments section down below.