For me and many others starting my first year of college was scary. I had no idea what to expect, and hearing roommate horror stories from friends and how hard the work is from my high school teachers only made it worse. Now that my freshman year is coming to a close, I thought I'd share some lessons I learned this year, both in and out of the classroom.
1. College is so much better than high school.
I don't know about you, but in high school I had to wake up before 6 AM every morning and classes started at 7:15. I had class with the same people I've seen every day since kindergarten and had the same boring routine every day. In college, even if you have an 8 AM class, there is usually no reason you would have to get up that early. Most colleges are big enough that you don't know every person you walk by, and that is a good thing because there are always new people to meet. You have a different schedule every day which keeps you from getting stuck in a routine and just going through the motions.
2. Classes aren't as bad as high school teachers make them seem.
Yes, college classes are more challenging than high school classes. Even so, they are not so far from high school classes that you have no idea what is going on and you accept that you'll fail the class. You may get a class that is like that, but usually it is because of the professor. And remember, not all college classes are the same level. You start with 100 level class with professor that know you just came out of high school and are there to help you. You gradually get up into the higher levels, and you are certainly not thrown into a class that is way too challenging for you to do well if you put the effort in.
3. You don't need to worry about making friends.
I was sick to my stomach leaving the hotel I was staying in the night before move-in day. I was sure I wouldn't make any friends at college and I would be alone. Once i actually got there, I saw that I was completely wrong. Everyone is welcoming, especially the first week you are all there. Also, everyone else is trying to make friends too, so people are open talking to others who they don't know. As long as you put yourself out there and are friendly, you should have no problem making friends.
4. The dining hall isn't as good as it was when you visited.
When the college is expecting visitors they purposely up their dining all game. That rotisserie chicken you couldn't get enough of? You won't see that until open house day. That being said, there are so many options you can find something you'll at least settle on eating. Take advantage of the dessert in the dining hall and bring it back to your room for a midnight snack later.
5. It's okay to change your major.
I wrote an entire article on this, but in short, it's totally okay to not end up with the major you started out with. So many people change their major, and some come into college not even having one. It will work out either way, as long as you decide to do what you really love.
6. The homesickness will fade.
At first it will probably be harder that you expected to be away from home. After a couple weeks this feeling goes away and you love being at college. You probably will even feel homesick when you're home on breaks and want to go back to school and be with your friends. Don't get me wrong, it's always nice to go home, but it's also always nice to be back at your second home after being away.
7. You really don't need to take all that stuff with you.
I heard people tell me this and I definitely didn't listen. I kept telling myself, "but what if I do need this?" Spoiler alert: I didn't. I took way too many summer clothes and not enough fall clothes to wear before the first break. I also took way too many random things that just ended up in a junk drawer that I am now going to have to manage to pack up. Coming from experience, if you didn't use it at home, chances are you won't use it at college.