So in my last article I learned a lot about things I learned in college. But today I want to expand on that.
High school and college and are totally different ball games. It's like going from the farm team to the major leagues. High school is like that friend you don't wanna hang with, but you do anyway, and college is like the cool friend with the nice car that you wanna be seen with all the time. It's a new can of worms. It's a place where you will actually want to expand your knowledge, where you'll thrive and where you'll grow in so many ways you didn't know were possible. And you can eat ice cream any time of the day and your mom can't tell you no, but in that aspect everyone wins (not saying I am condoning this).
1. First time on your own.
This specifically applied to dorming. I'll be dorming next semester at Rutgers, and at this time I couldn't be more excited. My first semester of college was the first time I was ever out of my house, out of state, without my mom constantly by my side all the time. Although she moved an hour or so away and was there when I needed something like food or clothes, I was COMPLETELY on my own. I was living with people I had only texted and met maybe one other time before. It took a lot to get used to. But it teaches you about responsibility and being considerate. I know a lot of teens are used to their parents picking up after them but in college you're on your own, but in college only you clean your messes up.
It also allowed me to experience new things I was skeptical about. I had a vegan roommate and a vegetarian roommate, and I decided to try and follow their diets to try and feel better about myself and just because I wanted a change (keyword: TRY). Another thing I had to get used to was the food. Not saying college food is gross, because a lot of the times it's actually not bad, but you're going to miss having home cooked meals all the time or mom buying you McDonalds. One of the good things about moving back home was that my stepmom made me eggplant a couple times and I took to it school.
And another thing...budgeting is key. I had a mini mart downstairs that drowned my funds all the time because the food was probably better than the dining hall's and even though college students are infamous for being "broke" all the time, if you save and spend wisely you can actually not struggle to buy something off the Dollar Menu once in a while. But in all honesty, appreciate your parents now and all they do, because once you're in college you won't have them all the time.
Aside from your mom not telling you no to having ice cream whenever you want, college gives you a lot of freedom. You can go out whenever you want, nap whenever you want. You can have guy friends and not have anyone tell you that you can't have boys in your room. You can go to parties and get home at 4 a.m. and go to sleep and then wake up late for class and miss a big exam and fail. I'm not saying that with lenience. I'm saying that even though you have a lot of freedom, you should be humble about it and not screw up because you can. Coastal Carolina is a party school. And I saw a lot of students who were also away from their parents for the first time. And a lot of them packed their bags after the first week because they couldn't handle themselves and got in trouble. Don't be one of them. Have fun, have A LOT of fun, but also be smart.
3. No one is going to hunt you down.
You know how in high school the school would call your parents if you got suspended or a teacher would call if you were failing or if you were talking in class? Well in college they don't give a flying fadoodle. You miss a homework? OK. You fail an exam? OK. You're absent? OK. Sometimes if you go to a professor and explain a situation they'll lighten up a little, but a lot of them do not care. All my professors cared about my well-being, which is another thing because a lot of high school teachers don't, but they know a load of crap when they see it.
4. Having older friends is normal, and the diversity is great.
In high school, freshman were normally 15, sophomores were 16 and so on and so forth. Well, I had classmates that were 50. And they were cool. The thing about college is that you all have one common goal, and that allows you to bond. This semester I made one really good friend named Sarah. She's 24 and she's exactly like me, and we both have the same major which allows us to bond. Different ages also allows for more honest, mature and intellectual conversations both in and outside the classroom. The beauty about college is the diversity of students.
I currently go to Rutgers University in Newark now, where we have been named the most diverse college campus in the United States—which doesn't surprise me. I had students from China, Canada, Austria, and many other places, along with a lot of students who moved here from places like Thailand, China, India and many others. So many different experiences have been shared within the walls of Rutgers that I can't even explain how blessed I am to have experienced.
Overall, you flourish and thrive in so many ways you never thought you could, and honestly you learn a lot about yourself in the process. So no matter where you go, what you study, what friends you meet, just makes sure you make the most of it.