As i head into my sophomore year of college at Syracuse University I look back on the days just before my freshman year and start to realize that college isn’t quite what i expected it to be. Movies and tv shows lead you to believe that it’s one huge party every single day of the week; With professors that are really down to earth, easy classes, massive parties everyday of the week, and instant friends. Unfortunately college is not all it’s cracked up to be. Don’t get me wrong, some of the things that you expect do actually come true, but most of the stuff you experience your first year you’ll never see coming.
Starting with your dorm room, unless your majoring in interior design, or have a parent in that field, don’t expect your dorm room to look like it came straight out of a pottery barn magazine. Most freshman dorms are on the smaller side so space is limited. You have to use the space wisely and improvise with storage. That being said, do NOT bring your whole wardrobe. I know you probably think that you’re going to need all eight of your favorite heels or all 12 of your Lily Pulitzer shorts, but trust me you won’t need all of that and you won’t have enough space for all of it either. I learned this the hard way my first year. Trying to find space anywhere and everywhere on my side of the room was next to impossible. That being said, you can still make your dorm room cute and cozy but you definitely shouldn't go overboard.
Finding friends seems to be another area where most people expect one thing but get another. Especially if you’re attending a college where you don’t know anybody. Freshman head into their first year of college expecting to make their “friends for life” instantly. The truth is that it may take some time to find where you fit in. Sometimes it can take as long as second semester of freshman year or even first semester of sophomore year. Don’t let this discourage you though. Some people adapt to their surroundings and the people around them faster than others. You will eventually find “your person” or your group of people but it may take some time. You can help yourself by joining clubs, participating in greek life, and getting active or known in your local campus community. Just remember that good things come to those who wait and that patience is key.
When it comes to the actual academic part of college, believe it or not you'll spend more time in the library at three in the morning than you will at some frat party at three in the morning. I know it sounds like a bummer but it's the harsh reality of becoming a college student. Partying and going out with your friends is a lot of fun and if you balance your schedule wisely then you can have just the right amount of fun while still managing your academics. Classes can be more difficult than you expect them to be, but don't let that scare you or discourage you. Just go into each one knowing that you may have to put some extra hours in at the library to ace the exams or to end up with an A for that semester. Classes are not like they are in high school, even if you were a straight A or AP student. It's a whole new world of education, that's for sure. Though the long hours can get tiring and stressful, in the end it will all be worth it.
College may not be all that it is cracked up to be but in some ways this is a good thing. It gives you a chance to experience and explore new things that you have never had the chance to. Things that you might not have known even existed. It is okay to go into college with certain expectations for things but just remember to keep an open mind. After all they do say that college is the best four years of your life so make it count!