College is weird. For instance, walking to the library the other day, I saw a kid wearing a tail. But the hardest part of going away to college is that you're so caught up in the excitement of getting away from home and beginning the best time of your life, that no one has the heart to tell you the sometimes hard to hear advice. College is a shit show disaster a lot of the time, and while it might be the best times of your life when you look back on it, it isn't always so great going through it. Here's some of the advice I wish I had gotten when I was about to start my freshman year.
1. Your heart is going to get broken.
Whether it's by the douchey guy in your building, or when you think you aced an exam just to find out you failed it (shoutout to the Chem department!), your heart is going to be broken. And for the first time, your mom won't be there to rub your back while you cry, and you're going to feel really lost. Not only will you feel lost, you'll feel a little empty, a little crushed and a little desperate. Don't worry - this feeling passes, and you learn. You work harder, you protect yourself a little better, and you will become a stronger version of yourself.
2. You will have a breakdown in the library - and that's okay.
Now that I've almost completed my second year of college, I've lost count of how many times I have hysterically cried in the library bathroom. It'll happen to you too - college is overwhelming, especially around exam season when you have three exams, a test, and a literal mountain of homework in a three day span. Everyone has had these moments, and while I won't be cliche and say that they'll make you stronger, you will get through them. You might even make a friend who is also having a nervous breakdown in the bathroom, and have someone to cry with!
3. You're going to fail an exam/class/something. Know it, and accept it.
College is hard. I don't think anyone is arguing that point. No matter what your major is, you're going to take some really hard classes with unfair professors and unforgiving departments that never make exceptions. You're going to fail at least one exam and maybe even a class. If nothing else, you're going to fail some major assignment for a class. Don't fret - work twice as hard the next time, and if you're lucky, the class will get curved and you'll be fine regardless.
4. You're going to have those moments where you think you aren't smart enough to be here.
This one happened to me when I walked out of an exam that I thought was impossible despite how hard I had studied for it, and all my friends were going on and on about how easy it was. I did end up failing that exam (see above), and I was so convinced that Ohio State admitting me was a mistake, and I should be somewhere where the academics are easier. But that would mean that I wasn't being challenged, and I would ultimately never learn anything. As hard as it might be, and as shitty as it might feel, being challenged is the best thing you can do for yourself.
5. You're going to ugly cry at 2 a.m. because you miss home.
I mean ugly cry like Kim Kardashian in almost every episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. No matter how close you are to home, you're going to feel homesick and really really miss your mom's cooking after a few months of campus food. That's normal, and most of the people around you are going to feel just as homesick. Keep hanging with those dope friends you've found at school, and call your friends from home and your parents. I always feel better after a nice long phone call with my mom. Also crying is apparently super healthy. So get your cry on!!
6. You're going to see tweets/Facebook posts/Instagram posts/etc of high schoolers complaining and want to kill them.
I couldn't tell you why it's so annoying when high schoolers complain about the amount of work they have to do, but it really gets under my skin. This is a weird list item (which is why it's hidden in the middle!!). But you're going to have to resist the urge to reply to their posts and tell them what a big storm they have coming - don't. Try and keep up the image that you are an adult who has their life together (especially if you're like me, and are the fakest adult that has ever existed). Karma will get them for those posts later, and remember how stressful high school felt at the time.
7. You're going to struggle academically. Own it.
I live in the library and religiously attend my professors' office hours. I own the fact that I am struggling and seek out help. Don't be embarrassed to admit that you're struggling - there are an insane amount resources to help you do great in your classes. Moreover, the library is not ~lame~. I can promise you that you will get nothing done if you try to study in your room!! Go to the libraries!! More than that, a lot of professors will be more willing to boost your grade if they recognize you - and it never hurts to get to know your professors (especially if you're interested in things like research!).
8. You're going to fight with your roommate(s).
I don't care if your roommate is your best friend from high school, or they were randomly assigned to you. You're going to fight. Living in a confined space with someone is really hard, and even harder if there's four of you crammed into a small space. The key is to talk through it like the mature adults that college kids are supposed to be, and don't hold grudges. One of my freshman year roommates threatened to kill me, so I promise I'm an expert on this point.
9. You're going to get sick and wonder how natural selection hasn't chosen you yet.
The first time I got sick in college, I for real thought I was going to die. I only got out of bed to go to class and slept the other parts of the day. I texted my mom every 15 minutes to update her on how I was feeling (which she was thrilled by), and I honestly didn't know if I was going to make it through. The irony was that I had a literal cold. I have no idea how natural selection didn't pick me out of the lineup right then and there because obviously I am not meant to survive. But you'll learn how to read the boxes of medicine to figure out what will you make you feel better, and you'll survive. And learn how to make your own doctor's appointment, a life skill I have still not mastered.
10. You'll feel lost.
I like to think of myself as a confident person; I know exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life, and I have a concrete plan to do it. But despite that, I've had many an existential crisis while in college. You'll feel like you haven't found your calling yet, or that you're wasting your time because you're not doing things you're passionate about. You just have to get through it. Ground yourself with your friends, both at school and at home, and your family - find little things to keep yourself occupied. I learned to crochet, and that kept my hands busy when I was feeling lost and aimless. It's a phase, and you'll get through it, and you'll figure out where you need to be and who you are.
11. You'll want to change your major/career/school/drop out.
The number of times I threatened to drop out was honestly obscene. College was too hard, things were too stressful, I missed home, and I was convinced I could make a living from my crappy minimum wage job at home. Power through - my best advice is to pick something each week to look forward to. It'll help you get through each week, and realize that there are good things about college. And as for changing your major or school, you have to do what you have to do. I changed my major because it was the right choice for me and my goals, but that's a personal choice that shouldn't be made lightly!! The big question you have to ask yourself is whether or not your life will be better/easier/happier if you change your major/career/school, and you'll find your way! You'll get through it!
12. You're going to really struggle with time management (no matter how good you were at it in high school).
The FOMO about going out is REAL. Even if you were great at time management in high school, you're going to struggle to force yourself to stay in to study for that exam or to miss out on a cool hang out to go to class. And while Cardale Jones wasn't here to play school, you are!! I don't really have any ~winning~ advice about this one because I am still terrible at time management and have had a lot of long nights in the library.