When starting college, there are a lot of unknowns. What will my dorm be like? Who will be in my classes? While being here for 3 weeks, I have learned a lot--some school related, but mostly the in's and out's of college. Here's what they won't tell you during your info session.
1. 9 AM classes are NEVER a good idea.
As I woke up on that first Tuesday morning, I quickly realized that I did not enjoy looking at my clock any time before 10. Not only was I tired, but the last thing I wanted to do was go sit in a discussion. There’s nothing worse than waking up and knowing that you have a full day of class ahead of you. Thankfully here at Michigan, we go by “Michigan Time” so my 9 AM really started at 9:10, but at that point, it didn’t really make a difference. Although I showed up that first day at 8:45, I can reassure that will be the earliest I leave my dorm room all year (except on game day of course). My suggestion, if you love sleep like I do, make it a priority to have later classes, it really makes all the difference.
2. I am not that interesting.
I got into my first class, found a desk and kept to myself. As the chairs filled up, the GSI asked us to go around and say our name, where we are from and an interesting fact about yourself. This may seem like an easy assignment, but it was harder than I thought. I sat there pondering what I could tell the class without seeming weird or awkward. The only thing I could think of was that I was from New York. I’m sure there are definitely things more interesting about myself than this, but under pressure, it was the only thing I could think of. So make sure you’re prepared, the first week of school you’ll be asked for an interesting fact more than you think, so start thinking (or make it up.)
3. The hardest place to get anything done is the library.
This definitely is not true always, but I have found that the library is more of a social scene than anything else. Whenever I’ve gone to the library, I’ve texted all my friends first to see if anyone wanted to go or was there. I always say that once I get there, I will put my headphones on, and do my work. But as you can imagine, it’s hard to get anything done when sitting at a table with 5 of your new friends. There is always something to talk about and laugh about. I actually spent 2 hours at the library and got no work done, then went home and sat in my room where I was isolated and did my work. For me, the best place to be productive is when I am alone, with no distractions.
4. No one is looking at your perfectly planned first day outfit
Trust me I get it. Deciding whether to go for the “I tried” look or the “I don’t want it to seem like I tried, but I did look” but believe me, no one is even looking at what you’re wearing. Maybe it’s the “I want to look athletic but cute” look or maybe the “I’m going to be trendy today” look, wear what you feel comfortable in. Classes are crowded, sometimes hot and sometimes boring. Be prepared to sweat, or be freezing. Comfort is key when sitting in an hour and a half lecture. Wear what you’re going to be happiest and comfiest in, who cares what other people think, most of the time they won’t be thinking at all.
5. You will feel more overwhelmed within one week than you did all of high school
Junior year might’ve seemed hard. I thought it was too. Balancing standardized testing, with school work and friends. Then first semester senior year came along and it was awful. Maybe more standardized testing, more school work, college applications and friends. But it all became better once you received your acceptance letters and second semester rolled around. Then you get to college and have welcome week and think to yourself, this is amazing. But when that first class rolls around and you have 30 pages of reading to do, along with a rush event for 9 hours, and a paper due in another class you’re going to lose your mind. Organization and time management really are the most important skills to learn in college. Without these, it may feel impossible to stay afloat in school, but with them anything can seem manageable. Know that everything will get done, you may just need to skip going out on one Thursday night or wakeup before 11 on a weekday.
To say this is all I’ve learned while being here wouldn’t be true, but I have found these things to be the most shocking, or surprising parts of school so far. It’s been helpful for me to remember that life goes on, every day is a new day, and whatever school you’re at, you’re there for a reason, so enjoy it. Regardless, you know you love college, and all the parties.