To say I was excited to start college is an understatement. I have quite honestly had a "college time" board on Pinterest for an embarrassing five years. I know what you are thinking, and yes, that's kind of ridiculous. From watching movies and having friends go off to college, I had this ludicrous idea of what college was going to be like. I'd have a few hours of the day for classes, and then the rest of the time I would be able to hang out with friends. I would get good amounts of sleep most days, but occasionally, I may pull all-nighters with some of my new bffs. Well let me just say that this is not necessarily true. I'm not here to scare you off, but college, in my experience, is not quite like that. There have been several realizations I have made after my first couple of weeks in college.
Making friends (and keeping them) is hard.
If you are a "shy-at-first" kind of person, then you know that making friends can be a hard task. I normally suck at being the first one to introduce myself to the person next to me. I'd usually just be on my phone to avoid an interaction, but going into college, I knew I needed to have a least one acquaintance, if not a friend, in each class to get the work from in case I'm gone. Every class thus far, I have introduced myself to the people sitting around me. Since every class I have had doesn't have assigned seating, in most of my classes I don't sit to the same people. I find that those people I made an effort to get to know and hopefully become friends with have found out they have other friends in the class and gone to sit with them the rest of the semester. Can I really be mad at them because they know someone else in the class and want to sit with them? No, but I can still be upset about it regardless. I am not good at putting myself out there, trust me, so for me to go out of my way to talk to you in a classroom full of strangers, you better feel pretty special.
Utilizing your free time to do homework & study is essential.
I am majoring in Spanish, and I started out in the first level classes since it has been a couple of years since I've had the opportunity to take Spanish courses. At my school (and probably many others), the first two courses of Spanish are five credit hours; you either meet every day for 1 hour or two days for two and a half hours. Since we have class everyday, we usually have some form of an online assignment to complete before class. Midway through my first week of school, I forgot all about having an assignment, so I failed to complete it that evening. Thankfully, the next morning, I checked our online blackboard and saw that we had assignment due before class. Now, after having two weeks under my belt, I feel that I have a pretty good routine of getting all my work done before I have fun. It may not sound like a good time, but I like to make sure I have everything completed before having "social" time because I am in college to first get an education.
You aren’t always going to get along with your roommates, suitemates, and/or hallmates.
Thankfully, I get along great with my roommate. Although our schedules are quite different from each other, we have found a rhythm that works for the both of us. It's the same with my suitemates, as I haven't had much interaction with them. My hallmates, though, are definitely not my favorite people in the world, and this is mainly because of their noise levels. I try to get as much sleep as I can so that I am well rested, but it can be quite difficult to do so when your hallmates are playing music ridiculously loud or coming in from parties at one or two in the morning yelling at each other in the hall. I try not to be a "fun-killer", but sometimes a girl just needs her sleep. If you don't get along with the people in your room or hall, just know it's okay and completely normal.
Dropping a class does not mean you are stupid or suck as a human being.
Being a perfectionist at heart, I came into college with the notion that dropping a course meant it was too difficult for you and you just sucked. I was faced with the harsh reality that its okay three days into my college career. I attended one day of my history class, and I just wasn't getting great vibes from my professor. Her teaching methods wouldn't benefit me and my learning style, but I told myself to just stick it out. I came back to her class for the second time that week, and I realized I couldn't just toughen up and continue the class. I ended up going to my advisor and dropping the class, an easy and painless process, and that was it. Please don't be like me and think that dropping a course is negative or reflects badly on you because it truly doesn't. Also, if you are going to drop a class, make sure it's during your school's "grace period" that way it doesn't go on your transcript.
Crying is okay, even if it is five times as much as you cried during high school.
Crying needs to be normalized, but that's a topic for another day. I cried so much during high school; it was insane. Whether it be over people, classes, or just the general stress of life, my first reaction most times was to just cry. So far this semester, I have probably cried about ten or so times. Many of those times were because I was either lonely, didn't feel like I belonged, or was just not feeling great mentally. It happens to everyone at some point in their life, so just know you aren't alone. There are several ways to combat these feelings if you truly dislike crying. If you are feeling lonely, call up some of your high school best friends. If you are feeling like you don't belong, go out and eat some ice cream. If you are not having a great day mentally, take some time for yourself and take up a new hobby. The point is crying is totally okay in college and anywhere else, but there are things you can do if you don't like crying.
College is a great experience, but it for sure isn't like all the cute movies made about it. Once you get on campus and start taking classes, reality will set in whether you like it or not. Just remember that many other college freshman having to face the same harsh realities as you, even if they don't show it publicly.