College, from afar, looks like the dream life. You get to study what you want, escape your parents, and party. At last, the independence that has been craved and worked for over the years has arrived. As great as this seems, there is a dark side: the transition is hard. Suddenly, all of the help you've ever had at home is gone, and it's all on you to make sure you get up on time and eat and sleep, not to mention carve out time to meet new friends. Here are 9 transitions first-year students will have to make during their first weeks of college.
1. Doing your own laundry
For years, having your own laundry service (a.k.a. Mom) has been a blessing. But now, it's your responsibility to clean your own clothes and make sure you actually have clothes to wear. It can be awkward standing there in the residence hall laundry room, staring at the machine and hoping it will tell you what to do, but after a few loads, it's no problem.
2. Getting your own food
While this can be one of the best parts of college, it is also the most dangerous. Sometimes, you're too lazy to go get your own food, or when you do, your whole meal is ice cream and cookies. No one stands over your shoulder telling you to eat your vegetables anymore. You have complete control over your diet, and that is quite the change.
3. Being responsible for yourself
In college, the only person in charge of making sure you wake up on time, get to class, eat, work out, get involved, and stay safe is you. Sure, your friends will do their best to look out for you, but you're not really their responsibility either, so it's up to you to learn to manage your time to maximize your success.
4. Sharing a bathroom
Some of us had the luxury of having your own bathroom at home, but college tears that away from you. Whether you have a community bathroom or a bathroom you share with your roommates, that complete level of privacy is gone. But, it's not so bad because you don't have to clean the community bathroom yourself.
5. Living away from home
Surprise: no matter how much you want to get out of your state or small town, you will miss it. Sometimes, you're alone when all you want is to be with people, and your friends will be scattered across the country. Your parents won't be home to ask you how your day was just for you to say "good." It can be lonely, but it's a temporary adjustment. Over time, you will meet so many new people that you will run out of hours in the day (or week) to meet up with all of them.
6. Lacking your own transportation
In high school, most students had the luxury of having their own car. They could go where they wanted when they wanted, but in college, you often lose that privilege. Many campuses don't allow freshmen to bring cars, so you're at the mercy of walking or the bus or a bike, all weather permitting. This sounds crappy, but you get used to walking all the time.
7. Being surrounded by people just like you...
When you arrive at your college of choice, you think it will be like high school, where everyone is pretty different. But you'll soon realize that the people around you are just like you: just as ambitious, hard working, and intelligent. I mean, there's a reason you all ended up at the same university. As intimidating as this sounds, it's nice to be around people who understand the way you work.
8. But also having to meet new people entirely
Living in the dorms, you live with people you don't know, and then you go to class with people you've never met either. The first few days are stressful; you're gathering so many names and faces that you're guaranteed to forget them all. But, overtime, you'll find your people and will soon be having family dinner together almost every night.
9. Sharing a room
Learning to share a space is hard. It forces you to be neat out of respect for your roommates, and you also have to get creative with storage. At first, you might feel like your space is being invaded, but it's nice to be able to share a room with someone when you feel lonely at a big school or to invite others in to chat for a while.
While all of these transitions have their own challenges, they're part of what makes college new and exciting. From here, your independence will grow, and you will find that this chapter of life is exactly what you were ready for.