I know that from reading the title of this article, many of you, particularly those of you reading this who are currently in college, must think that I am completely out of my mind. Most of us head to our freshman year of college expecting it to be a complete change from everything we have ever known before and in most cases, it is. I am not quite sure what precisely it was that I was expecting when I packed my bags and headed off to Hamilton. I was just convinced that everything would be different, and as somebody who is not a big fan of sudden change, I was less than enthused. Between trading in my comfortable bedroom to share a pint-sized shoe box suite with four other girls, having to trek miles across campus to get a meal that is mediocre at best, and having to abandon my beloved car due to no-freshman-allowed parking policies, leaving me stranded on our desolate campus, it all pretty much sounded like my own personal nightmare or at the very least, a big wake up call.
After surviving my first three weeks on campus, I can confidently say that it has not been a wake up call at all. In fact, not much has changed for me. Living in a dorm, which was perhaps my biggest pet peeve with the so-called "college lifestyle", has proven to be fairly easy. Of course there will always be that one imbecile who lives below me that blasts electronic dance music consistently during the middle of the day, prohibiting me from getting my mid-afternoon nap (Yeah, I'm talking to you room 203) and the fact that sharing a bathroom with five girls is less than ideal, but if those are the hardest challenges I will face living on campus, then I think I will manage. I wish I would have studied the layout of campus before moving in, because I would have realized that there is a dining hall within a 50-foot distance from my residence hall; I would have saved my food-loving self a lot of pre-college anxiety. As for not being able to have my car on campus- it isn't ideal, but it isn't terrible. Because I live only 40 minutes away from campus, it is fairly easy for me to get off campus on the weekends to go home, shop, visit with friends and family and do just about whatever I want. I have been surprised to find that I have significantly less assigned work in college than I did in high school, which a lot of people find impossible when I tell them. While I took 9 courses in my senior year of high school, Hamilton only allows students to take 4 at a time, which means I have a lot more spare time on my hands. However, the work that I have had to do in college is much more difficult than anything I have had to do previously and the assignments often require a lot more focus and introspective thinking in comparison to a majority of my high school work which was often nothing more than glorified busy work.
After experiencing the differences between expectation and reality during the beginning of my first year of college, I have just a few short words of advice, not only to those who will be entering college next year, but to everyone in all stages of life. Do not let your fears deter you from fully immersing yourself into everything you do. You will find that when you don't let your negative expectations consume your perspective, you are far more likely to be faced with a positive reality. It may be a long road that leads you to a new destination, but once you get there, you won't want to look back.