Graduating high school is a feat in and of itself, and you learn many lessons in your 12 years of public schooling (most of which were not taught in the classroom). If you're starting college, it can seem pretty overwhelming. I know it was for me. There are many things I wish I'd known on that first day I stepped onto the college campus that I have come to love.
1. No one cares.
You're probably a great person, but you aren't the center of the universe. This is good and bad—no one will judge you for wearing sweats all the time, but no one is going to hold your hand and guide you through life either.
2. Don't take yourself so seriously.
Take time to learn about yourself, don't worry about being perfect.
3. College isn't for everyone.
I know public school drilled this into many of our heads, but some people are better suited for trade school or an alternative path. There's nothing wrong with that.
4. If you want to make friends you have to learn to be a friend.
Help people, be kind, have fun. You aren't surrounded by people you've known since kindergarten anymore, so making friends is going to take a little more effort. It's okay though, it's worth it.
5. It's okay to ask for help.
You aren't expected to know everything from day one. Your fellow students are figuring things out as they go too, so ask for help when you need it, and be willing to help others when you can too.
6. Adulting is not glamorous.
Yes, you have a lot of new freedom... and bills, and responsibility, and no adult supervision. You're the adult now—whoa!
7. Going grocery shopping alone is weird the first time.
Do all these people know that I'm just pretending to know what to stock a pantry with? Are they judging me for buying three crates of ramen? Wait, where did I put my list? Bonus tip: don't go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
8. Getting out of bed is harder when no one is judging you for sleeping in.
Mom's not there, your professors don't care if you go to class, and neither does your roommate... you have to motivate yourself to wake up.
9. Everything is a balancing act.
For every night out you should probably spend another in the library. You have to balance school, fun, your checkbook and all other kinds of responsibilities. Start practicing time management ASAP!
10. You can't do it all - prioritize.
Don't get me wrong, shoot for the stars. But maybe don't try to shoot for the stars, travel to Neptune and discover a new galaxy all in the same semester. Instead, try joining a few clubs, keeping up your grades, and then see what you can handle from there.
11. Your professors don't think you're special.
They probably have hundreds of students, so don't expect them to give you special treatment. If they don't offer extra credit or bump up people's grades they probably aren't going to do it just for you. Sorry, that's life.
12. The hardest part of anything is usually starting.
Whether it's a 10-page paper or your first meeting for a club you want to join, just jump in and get started. It's not so scary once you begin.
13. You learn more outside of the classroom than anywhere else.
Go to lectures and pay attention, but be warned that you will be learning a lot more from the school of life than any professor could ever teach you.
14. Be your own person before you look for a significant other.
Other people are pretty much okay, but the only person you can guarantee that you'll always have is yourself. Make sure you like that person! Who cares if everyone else approves?
15. Stock up on t-shirts and athletic shorts.
College students live in these. They also don't like laundry. So have a lot of them.
16. Don't flush a live fish down the toilet.
Apparently it endangers native species of wherever they end up. So basically if you do this you hate the Earth—just don't do it!
17. Don't sneak a dog into the dorms.
Uh, just trust me on this.
18. Be open to trying new things.
If you do the same things you will always get the same results. Try something new, grow as a person, have a little fun.
19. You don't have to party to have fun.
Not that you can't party, but you don't have to go completely wild to have a good time. It's all about balance.
20. Go out of your way to help others.
This is the only way we improve as people. Just make it a lifelong habit now.
21. Get involved on campus.
Otherwise you will have copious amounts of free time, and we both know that you have potential for greater things than Netflix binges and long naps.
22. Be friendly.
Everyone needs a smile from a stranger sometimes.
23. Most things won't go as according to plan.
This isn't really your fault, and it isn't always a bad thing. Go with the flow, rise to the challenge, and keep in mind your long-term goals.
24. There will be a lot of spontaneous and unplanned opportunities.
Don't be scared, just go for it!
25. Respect your residence hall's quiet hours.
The quickest way to make enemies is to get in the way of someone's sleep. Don't be that person.
26. You don't have to pick a major right away.
You have time to figure things out, even if you don't believe that right now. A lot of people change their major, so don't obsess over it right now.
27. Make time to call your loved ones.
Leaving home for the first time is great, but remember the people that helped you get there.
28. Go to your residence hall's socials.
This is a great way to make friends, and your RA's actually appreciate it when you show up.
29. Don't be afraid to just go with it.
Even something random like a midnight game of hide-and-seek on the campus quad can lead to lifelong friends.
30. Disney movies never stop being awesome.
Just because you're an adult doesn't mean that you suddenly hate everything fun, okay?
31. Everyone is different, but they all deserve respect
You're going to meet people from all walks of life and with a vast array of different beliefs and values. Respect everyone unless they prove they don't deserve it. No exceptions.
32. Greek life is everywhere, and you know it when you see it.
Why are all those people dressed so nice in the dining halls? Greek life. What are all these people out here asking for donations for different charities? Greek life. How does that entire half of the class already know each other? Greek life. I'm not saying you should or shouldn't join Greek life, just that it's everywhere. Seriously, they're like networking ninjas.
33. Don't accidentally go to class in your shower shoes.
Again, just trust me.
34. Don't hesitate to go talk to your RA.
They want to help you, and they actually care.
35. Don't put aluminum in the microwave, separate your whites and colors in the laundry, and remember 'right tighty, left loosey.'
Just some Adulting 101 tips for you.
36. Don't be scared - you can do this!
I know it's scary, but everyone feels that way when they start. And everyone overcomes it. You will too, trust me.
There's no handbook for how to go to college (and even if you found one, it's not complete), but hopefully this list is a good start. The main thing to keep in mind is you can do it. If you believe that then not much can stand in your way. Good luck, and may the curve be ever in your favor!