5 Things To High Schoolers Anticipating That Looming Transition To College

5 Things To High Schoolers Anticipating That Looming Transition To College

Here’s what I’ve learned from my first semester of college.

After one semester of college and a round of finals, I realize now that all those campus tours were terrible representations of what college is like and that I spent hours asking all the wrong questions. Of course, it’s important to anticipate what friends you’ll make, what clubs you’ll take part in, or how the food and living conditions will be. But since everyone is in the same boat as you, it’s fairly easy to find people to hang out with and after a month, you just accept that the crammed dorms and sub-par food is your new reality. That kind of stuff comes a lot easier than expected. Instead, here’s a list of what to actually consider before entering campus grounds:

1. Your friends in college will be different than your friends in high school.

While it may seem obvious, this particular fact hit me pretty hard. Whether you want to escape your current friend group or you are like I was and want to find a group just as great, it’s important not to set up too many expectations. Don’t expect to find friends better or just like the ones back home. The people you meet in college will likely have different mannerisms, different traditions, and different personalities. Being part of a brand new group of people takes effort and compromise, and it may take a while to learn where you fit in it all. You can’t expect them to fulfill everything that your high school friends did or rely on them to respond the same way. Instead, learn to embrace their differences and to enjoy the unique parts about them. I am constantly expanding myself and broadening my perspective because of my friends here and have realized that a shift in viewpoint is exactly what I needed.

2. That independence you are looking forward to also has baggage.

While most people are more than happy for the change and new beginnings college has to offer, I think they forget there’s truly no going back even if they wanted to. In reality, the transition from high school to college has a lot heavier effect than expected. It means sleeping through 8:00 AM classes and noticing how no one really cares that you’ve missed out. It means getting sick and having to set up your own doctor’s appointment. It means going home for Thanksgiving and realizing that from now on, you are just a temporary guest. It means that despite all of the new people you’ve met, you still are the only person you can rely on to hold yourself accountable.

3. There’s no need to put on an act.

Everyone has to go through a couple bumpy months of trying to figure out where to fit in or how to manage time. That might mean walking into the wrong classroom, taking the wrong bus, or having to use Google Maps constantly. There’s no need to put up an act and pretend you have everything figured out, because I guarantee there will be others just as clueless as you. There is also no need to put on an act when it comes to meeting new people. Of course you should adapt and have an open mind, but don’t lose yourself or compromise your character because of it. It is so vital you don’t portray yourself to people in a way that you will regret a few weeks later. The last thing you want is to find yourself in a friend group who doesn’t actually know who you are.

4. You only move forward from here.

In many ways, going to college is like being a pathetic baby bird getting thrown out of its nest and forced to open its wings to figure out the whole flying thing. Or maybe it’s like driving a car and looking out the back window watching your home get smaller and smaller, except the car never turns around. You’ll feel yourself growing farther away from the person you were and getting more comfortable with the life you have made for yourself in college. While the independence and freeing environment of college is amazing, it’s hard to grasp that you’ve outgrown your home and are being weaned off the security you found in it.

5. You’ll turn out okay.

Going to college means being able to dress and act beyond the status quo set in high school. It means sharing viewpoints and perspectives with diverse people who have unique cultures. It means being surrounded by an environment of people eager to learn and grow right alongside you. It means finally being able to spread wings, take risks, and pursue life in a way you couldn’t before. Since going to college, I no longer feel like my every action is being judged and analyzed, or maybe I just don’t care anymore. I’m doing things to better myself and learning to live my life unapologetically. I am constantly gaining perspective and being challenged about what I think and the way I think about it. Because of this, I believe that leaving the security of my home was the best thing that could happen to me and I am confident it will be the same case for you.

Popular Right Now

Empowering Mantras That Soothe The Soul

Learn and repeat these mantras to center yourself.

January is the month of change. We can decide to change at any time during the year, but the start of the new year pushes us to be our best self. If you have something you want to stop, or start doing, now is the time. As I sit in Spain far away from my family, friends, and peanut butter (which is shockingly impossible to find in Spain), I’m confronted with a new challenge and a new opportunity to grow. Although studying abroad is an incredible opportunity and I am more than grateful, I would be lying if I said there aren’t moments of crying in the shower and longing for my body pillow at home (his name is Maxwell and he is pink, and no, I’m not pregnant).

Whenever I get overwhelmed I find it extremely helpful to stop, take a deep breath (or sixty) and repeat calming mantras to myself until the feeling passes. Mantras can be words or sentences and phrases that you can repeat to yourself anytime, although traditionally they have been used during meditation. The goal is to help focus the mind internally and block out any external distractions. It helps to center you and mentally decongest. Scientifically, the benefits are incredible.

The repetition of mantras have been linked to a decrease in heart rate, brain waves and the ability to slow down breathing.

“I am enough”

Fake it till you make it. Believe it or not, say it over and over again. We are what we think, so think positive.

“This too shall pass”

Life goes on even when you think it can’t. We have to experience the peaks and valleys to live a full life. Remember that in a bad moment, it will pass and a new feeling will replace it. And treasure and revel in the good moments because you know what you have overcome and what you may face in the future.

“I am grateful”

Your nail breaks, you spill your coffee, you tumble down a flight of stairs. Plenty of things happen throughout our days that may cloud our overall perception. Challenge yourself in those negative moments to list three events or people you may have overlooked that made your day brighter. Gratitude literally alters the way our brains process our emotions and thoughts and the best part is that we are in control of making our thoughts positive.

“Let it Be”

Time and time again we learn this lesson. It is what it is, what will be will be. That’s not to say it’s always a graceful moment of acceptance, but there’s a certain freedom in knowing that so many things are out of our control.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/buildings-city-exercise-girl-374632/

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

5 Must Things To Do During Second Semester

Looking for things to do during this winter season? This list has got you covered.

For many of us who have just started our second semester, or are about to, the stress of college is about to come at you full force and smack you in the face. Personally, I find second semester to be much more difficult compared to first semester.

First semester is filled with tailgates, football games, hayrides, pumpkin patches, Thanksgiving, Halloween, the list can go on and on. Due to the fact that there's so many more activities to do first semester than second, that can lead to a semi-dull second semester. With that being said however, here's a list of things you can do to prevent all that boredom.

1. Go to other sporting events that your college offers you

College sports are one of the best parts of living in America so you might as well take full advantage of them. Even though football season may be over, hockey and basketball season are in full swing right now. Also, by end of March and beginning of April, baseball will start as well. Going to games as a student is a great way to have fun with your friends while not having to bust open the piggy bank.

2. Pajama and movie nights

A simple enough idea, but has the potential to have tons of fun if you decide to give it your all. During the winter, especially up north, it can be brutally cold so staying inside is priority majority of the time. But that doesn't mean there's not a way to enjoy all that cold.

Curl up with your best friends whether it be in your dorm room or apartment while showing off the funniest or best pajamas you own. Pick out your favorite movies and settle down for a night full of laughter, gossip, and memories.

3. Enjoy the outdoors

Even though I just said that winters up north can be brutally, there's still plenty to offer when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. Go ice skating and watch all of your friends struggle to stay upright and fall down, or go skiing/snowboarding and enjoy the beauty of the snow while getting a great workout in.

Or, you could be like my friends and steal dining hall food trays and use those to sled down some hills. Having these options can help you look forward to the winter and enjoy activities other than staying inside.

4. Go to a museum

Learning about different cultures or parts of history can be a lot more fascinating than people would like to admit. Go to your local college museum and check out cool facts there or drive to a city around you to check out other museums as well. If you're close to a moderate to large city, you will usually be able to find a history museum, aquarium, or some type of science museums. These are fun ways to learn new facts about the past, present, and future of our world.

5. Day trip

Spontaneous (or not spontaneous) day trips can be a blast with your friends or significant other. Choose a random place to go and drive there. Find something to do wherever you go. You'll make some great memories that'll last you a lifetime. It doesn't even have to be far, it can be only 30 minutes away and still be just as fun. Where the destination is doesn't matter, it's who you're going with that matters.

I hope these 5 ideas of what to do in the winter will help you enjoy your second semester of college while still having as much as first semester. After all, you're only in college for four years, so take advantage of everything you can do while you can!

Cover Image Credit: Maddie Blank

Related Content

Facebook Comments