Soooo.......you're a big college kid are ya? Ready for the big leagues? Yeah, I wasn't either. In fact, I was the furthest thing from prepared/ready, whatever you want to call it.
For starters, I just want to add in a little disclaimer. I am the most home-bodied person that I know. I love my family and friends and I can barely be on vacation without feeling homesick.
Going to school was a big step for me, especially going to a big school 3 hours from my hometown of Lagrange, Ohio. They always tell you that college is the best 4 years of your life and to not take it for granted, but when all you have is your sights on how scary this milestone is, it is easily forgotten. You think that you and your roommate will never have any issues because you're the best of friends, or that you will never have to study because you got by in high school without studying for anything. College is the biggest reality check if you think that it's all rainbows and butterflies. Take it from someone who was going through a break-up, had a bad roommate situation, and barely studied throughout high school, I made it out of my first year, okay and no matter how hard you think it is for you, you will too.
I moved in with my roommate thinking that we would be best friends and that we were on the same page but not realizing that we were polar opposites. I came from a big family (2 brothers and 2 sisters) and she came from living with only her father. No offense to anyone in the band, but I was a cheerleader and she played drums in the band. We were so different we might as well have been a cat and dog. We had Face-timed the entire summer, always laughing and talking about how excited we both were for the school year. I really had thought that it couldn't get as good as her. BOY was I wrong. There was a big lack of communication and bottled up feelings that when unleashed, came out as a stream of cuss words and as frustration. There were traits of both of us that we didn't mention to one another. Needless to say, I didn't know how to handle someone who was passive-aggressive and she didn't know how to share, and it's not her fault that she was the only child living at home. I got out of that situation as soon as I hit my breaking point. A girl can only take so much doing nice things, and not hearing a single "thank you" back. I moved in with someone who understood myself and worked with me to make my new living situation at least bearable (it was more than just bearable). I'm not even going to mention my break-up because to be honest, it was painful and spiteful and something that I never want to go through ever again.
The next thing to prepare for is your classes. No one ever tells you that college classes are a whole different world than high school classes, but they are. Not necessarily bad, but something to get used to. You choose whether to do your homework or actually show up (just be ready to lose some points and probably drop a letter grade). If you aren't seeing the results you want to see, your professors will give you their office hours. GO TO OFFICE HOURS. My first semester of classes, I didn't utilize this because I didn't think it would really make any difference. But the second semester was the semester that I had a grip on how everything would work and I took a shot at going to office hours. It helped me dramatically.
If you are not used to being on a budget or living on your own, prepare now. Money is tight between buying too much food at 2 a.m. on a Friday night or going to a fancy restaurant for your friends 21st birthday, you'll resort to looking for a job sooner or later. It really is a small slice of living on your own, finding your own job for your own money instead of depending on whoever the breadwinner is of the family. Living on your own is good for many reasons, one of which being that you are responsible for making good decisions when your parents aren't there to make the good decisions for you. It's not as scary as you think it is but it is a slap in the face, to say the least.
College is scary in some aspects but it's also the best decision I have ever made. I am so happy choosing to not stay home because I would have never learned the things that I know now if I went to the local community college. If you are feeling small in the big world of college, you aren't alone. Best of luck to the college freshman that is reading this. Hopefully, this little pep-talk (almost) made you feel a little more optimistic.