7 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before Heading To College

7 Pretty Important Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Heading Off To College

Some college truths that no one really told me about that I feel will help others.

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After my first year in college, I realized some very important life truths that, while some may have hinted at, were things that I never even knew that I needed to learn. Here is a list of the seven major things that I feel are important to know and prepare for in college.

1. There is so much you have to do for yourself, other than your laundry.  

Laundry became the least of my problems once I started living on my own. Having to schedule everything by myself was one of the biggest adjustments that I had to make. Classes, hanging out with friends, and staying healthy were all things that I had never had to juggle on my own, and suddenly no one was there to organize my responsibilities for me. You also have to start fighting for yourself for things that you deserve. Sometimes a simple email asking a question about a grade or extra credit can show initiative and can get you what you want without too much effort. Learning to follow through on small tasks like that took me a little while to learn, but has proven integral to maintaining good grades and relations with professors.

2. Drama in college can become very real, very fast.

High school drama is a thing of the past. In high school, if one person liked someone else, it was all over the school and everyone would invest themselves entirely into it; in college, however, problems that people tend to hear about are the ones that are the most harmful. Relationships become more adult, and the trivial drama tends to fall away, revealing meaningful growth opportunities taken advantage of, or missed. Problems that affect college freshmen become more real, as there are no adults around to help you solve them. Resourcefulness in that aspect becomes a sort of acquired skill, for better and for worse.

3. Even though some colleges are big, they can get really small.

Packing everyone that you went to high school with into the same building can make you feel absolutely trapped. Coming to college, personally, I wanted to maintain as many high school relationships as possible while still branching out and meeting new people. How was I supposed to do that when I only saw people that I already knew? This problem usually subsides after a couple of months, as people go out of their way to form new friendships and relationships. Staying instate made it harder to branch out past the hundreds of people who came to college from my area, but it was still possible to form friendships with people who weren't previously connected to me at all. It just took some time.

4. You’re going to miss home.  

Especially during second semester, I found myself becoming homesick for my house, my dogs, and my family. It's intense when you're thrown into a shoebox and expected to live on your own, usually for the first time. Your house becomes less and less of a home as your new life develops, and suddenly neither the dorm nor your home really feels like your place anymore. It's really the people that you surround yourself with that will help you feel like you belong somewhere.

5. Your mindset is what is going to define your experience.

I know plenty of people who came into college intent on hating it. They did not go to the school that they had planned on, and were focused on having the worst time possible so that they could have a reason to transfer to the place that they had planned on going. Why make yourself miserable for ten months of your life? If you focus on being in the moment wherever you are, you are bound to be fulfilled, even if you don't get into where you thought you were supposed to go.

6. After living on your own for ten months, living at home for the summer is going to be hard.

I am bored. I have no schoolwork during the summer to attend to, and my job does not take up a huge part of my day. There is a longing to return to the life that I had been living this past semester, to get back to where I had more purpose and I was surrounded by the friends I had made in school. Once everyone moves back home, we are all scattered, far away from the people we had gotten used to living floors away from. Making the most of your time, either through a job, a study abroad, or summer school can help fill your time and make your summer worthwhile.

7. You’re going to find people who love you for who you are and not some other version of yourself, so keep it real.

This is probably the biggest thing I wish someone would have told me. Sometimes, when meeting new people, I feel the need to be a little fake with them, only because I want them to like me. What no one told me that I say now is that it doesn't matter if people in college dislike the real you, because it is so easy to find people who do. No matter who you are, there is definitely a crowd of people for you.

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I'll Be 21 Next Week, And There are Some Things I Am Happy To Leave Behind At 20

I'll never envy growth because how would I change?

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Mistakes, we all make them but only some of us are able to fully admit to what we've done in the past. It's so simple to make these mistakes, yet it's even harder to own up to them and take action. At the age of 20, I was more impulsive with my words and created unnecessary obstacles that would make things much harder for me in the future. This was something that I didn't know was detrimental to some of my friendships, and it took a lot to realize that. As I reflect on those mistakes, it upsets me that I even did these things as I've been able to see the impact that it left on others as well as myself. Words can start as phrases and result in actions that could negatively push someone to their breaking point. I've realized how I was wrong, and I'm more than careful these days in how I approach situations.

We have to grow as we go, as horrible as it is sometimes. Not everyone is going to understand your growth and support you along the way although you've made these mistakes. It's okay that some people do leave, just look around at those who have stayed. Sometimes we take those people for granted because we forget they are there, and that's something I've been guilty of too. The more that we look around and thank the ones that we do have, the better that those friendships will be in the long run. Every day there are new things that we encounter as humans and new people that we meet who shape us into the people we are daily. I am beyond thankful for every single person that I've met on my walk of life so far, and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

I'm glad I've made my mistakes and didn't bite my tongue at times. If I never made these mistakes, I would have never grown into realizing that these things were wrong and affected people I love and care about. I'll never envy growth because how would I change? I'll be 21 next week and I want to maintain my growth and show myself and the ones I love how these tribulations have shaped me into a better person. If a day could come that some of the people I've hurt in the past would be able to speak to me again, I would be nothing but fortunate. I love hard, and care compassionately and always will have those empathetic feelings within my personality. Those traits have gotten me in trouble in the past, but it's all about learning how to use them for good in the long run.

So, at 21 I want to strive to be the best version of myself and love the world and the people in it as much as possible. I'm going to make more mistakes, but I want to keep growing and surrounding myself with people who bring out the best version of this 21-year-old. In my opinion, everyone deserves a second chance and it's what they do with it that counts. You'll always remember your impression of the person based on their actions, but it's what they do with their life that actually matters. Life is short, and the people on this universe all want the same thing which is some type of love that we all strive for. At 21, I hope to find more of the love on this universe and bring that into other peoples lives. Everything comes full circle, and I want to be a positive part of that as much as I can.

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