As I was going through high school, the people around me, friends and cousins, were heading off to college and sharing their experiences. I laughed at a lot of their funny anecdotal stories, but I didn't really relate to what they were saying. I mean, who could possibly need coffee that much? Now that I've been here a month, I can answer ME. The college experience is truly something else. Here are 10 things I now know to be true about college:
1. Coffee is literally life
I used to see those online memes about coffee and college students ALL the time, and I always laughed, thinking, ah yes, I enjoy coffee as well. That's all I really thought people meant when they said they couldn't live without coffee. After a mere month of college, I can now confirm, coffee is a necessity of my daily life. I can no longer go a day without being caffeinated. Yes, yes, there are ways around drinking coffee, like going to bed early and making sure you rest properly. But, with all the clubs and activities and homework, I just find myself unable to go to bed at a reasonable time. Even on nights when there isn't some place I need to be or something I need to be doing, I want to spend the night with my friends. And pretty soon, it's 3 a.m., and I have to be up in five hours, but it was worth it.
2. Naps. Lots and lots of Naps
I first saw this graphic in middle school. I laughed the casual off-handed giggle. I think I distinctly remember chuckling about how I thought college students were just lazy since they had so much time to take naps. I didn't realize how unbelievably necessarily naps are. The amount of naps needed to survive in college should probably be declared as illegal. But hey, naps are beautiful, wonderful things. My favorites are when you're trying to study in between classes and you pass out over your books, waking up just in time for a lecture. Those are the best naps of all.
3. Coming home makes me really sleepy
I first heard this when my family friends came home for the holidays after their first few years at college. One person said, "I love coming home but I also hate it because I never get anything done. I always just want to sleep and relax when I'm at home." And pretty much everyone agreed. I didn't really understand. I could see the logic but I never gave it much thought. Now, after being at college and having gone home for a weekend, I can attest-- going home makes you sleepy. I don't know what it is, it must be something with the atmosphere or something in the food that just makes you so happy and drowsy. It must be the change of pace, with not having much to do as you usually do when you're on campus. Or maybe it's the cuddly little dog next to you.
4. College is nothing like high school
No, it most certainly is not. All throughout high school, I heard this, but I always thought "okay but, how different could it really be?" The answer: A LOT. College is very, very different, very fluid and very much requiring a level of flexibility that high school just didn't have. Also, time management. I won't give away too much though; let the high schoolers figure it out for themselves. There are parts of it that are awesomely different and a lot of fun, and there are parts that... aren't as much fun. It's everything you dreamed it would be, but it's also so much more and so much less. You can't really describe it until you go through it.
5. It's difficult to keep in touch with friends from high school
When I was saying goodbye to my closest friends, I thought that I would never ever lose them. I thought that when people said they didn't keep in contact with their best friends from high school, they were just lazy or didn't have as amazing friends as I do. I thought I would always stay really close to them and they would be my best friends forever. I thought I'd talk to them often and see them often and I thought that nothing would be that different. But eventually, we all got busy. We dove into our respective schools and classes and clubs, and we made new friends. It's not the same. It really isn't. We've begun to drift apart. It's incredibly heartbreaking, but I know that doesn't mean it's over. It just means that when we do finally have our phone calls and house parties, we'll just have a lot to talk about.
6. When college students call campus home
When my brother would come home from school for a vacation or study break, he would always say, "I'm going home in a few days," when he was talking about going back to school. I was utterly offended. How could any place other than home be home? I was dead set on never mistaking school for home in a sentence. Lo and behold, I've done it many, many times. It's just something about this school that makes me want to call it home after only being here for a month. I feel instantly and completely at ease and comfortable, even when I'm swarmed by the anxieties and uncertainties of college life. It truly is another home.
7. "Dressing up" is completely redefined
While I still disagree with this one (because you should always look your best) I completely understand where it's coming from. I have absolutely no interest in waking up a half hour earlier than I have to for my 8:30 am just so I can look a little better for my day ahead of doing nothing but sitting in a dark library and studying. "Dressing up," for me now means making an effort to put on a nice top, nice jeans, put on eyeliner and a little light make-up-- all stuff I would do normally for a day out. College is making me lazy.
8. Your food is not your food
Your food is everyone's food. There's no hands off, there's no Joey doesn't share food. There is only, "You got food?" and the answer of "yes". But it's ok. Sharing food is fun.
9. My 8:30 A.M.'s suck
Again, I thought, "How bad could it really be? I woke up early for high school everyday. I can totally do this." No, no you cannot. Remember when we talked about how college is nothing like high school? Yeah, it most definitely is that bad. But when the semester is over, at least you can add, "Survived an 8:30 AM," to your resume.
10. I met my best friends in my hall
Wow, is this a true one. I heard this narrative over the entirety of my college search, endless tour guides saying they met their best friends in their hall, so we should definitely consider staying in the dorms, and we'll have a great time in the dorms. I rolled my eyes, thinking that they probably just had to say that as part of their spiel to get us to come to campus. I never anticipated how true that was going to be. I love the people in my hall. They're the quickest and most real friends I feel I've made anywhere. Of course, I'm only a month in, but I can easily see what people mean when they say their best friends are their hall-mates.
College is great, guys. I only want to cry 76% of the time. That's an all-time low.