I had a lot of misconceptions coming into college that I wish someone had cleared up for me. I wish someone had been totally transparent with me about their experiences and prepared me for what could possibly come. Not every experience will be like mine, but below are some things that I wish someone had told me might happen.
1. You will fail.
My definition of failing has changed quite drastically since coming to college. Sure, I was shocked when I received my first ever failing grade on an exam, and I became even more alarmed when I received more. However, I realized that my low scores didn’t deem me a failure, even though at the moment I felt like one. I allowed my grades to weigh me down, instead of letting them teach me valuable aspects of life. Sometimes you will fail, but it’s how you recover from that failure that matters. If you allow yourself to fall into a pit of negativity, you will never rise above your failures and learn from them. College has taught me that I can push myself harder than I’ve ever had and has taught me how to have strong resilience in the face of adversity.
2. You will face times of loneliness.
My first semester of college left me quite dismal. I like to think that I’m a social and outgoing person, so I wasn’t worried about making friends coming into college. What I realized was that making friends in college was harder than I thought. You have to try to form lasting friendships that are not fleeting based on your class schedule. But, it’s okay to feel alone. It’s a normal feeling, it doesn’t make you any less of a person. It’s okay to let your guard down and let someone know that you’re not doing as well as you thought you would be. Journal it out, but also talk it out. And never stop putting yourself out there, even if you go to what seems like hundreds of events and the people you talk to there don’t talk to you again. You will find a group of people you enjoy and you will form lasting friendships. Be patient in the times of loneliness.
3. You won't enjoy every class.
Coming into college, I think I had an idealized mindset that finally I would get to study what I enjoyed. I felt like in high school, there were those classes that seemed unnecessary to take or irrelevant to your future goals. I thought that in college, I would spring out of bed for every class, excited to learn. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I have had classes where I hated everything about it. From the professor, to the content, to even the structure of the class. This caused a lot of disappointment and resentment within me. I wanted to learn but here I was trying to get through a class where I could barely understand the professor. Quick horror story, once when I asked a professor how I could do better in the class, he told me that I should date a boy good at the class. Yeah. I’d say that wasn’t my best day. Don’t fear college, but don’t have an idealized mindset about it either.
4. You might question your major choice... a lot.
I personally think that because you’re exposed to so many new experiences and information in college, your interests change a lot. You talk with so many different people and think, “Wow it would be so cool to do what they do, or study what they do.” There are so many interesting fields to study that it almost seems impossible to pick one. Allow yourself to have completely new experiences and see how they shift your passions. In addition, you might have some super challenging classes or a tough schedule that makes you question if all of your efforts is worth it for the major you're currently in. Stick with it, the hard classes will come and go, and you'll be thankful for them in the end because they make you so much stronger in the long run. It's not so much the material out of the hard classes that are truly significant, it's the fact that you're able to say you completed something you didn't think you'd be able to do.