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As told from someone completing their freshman year.
Yes, this article has been written many times by a variety of students with different social rank and academic status. But here is an article written from the average student, to the average student, to lessen college-related anxiety and to prepare you for the stage in your life that I’m already in. For the first misconception, we have the picture above. Although pleasing to the eye, you will never be that stylishly organized nor your dorm furniture that pristine white.
My high school teachers always used college as a threat. They’d switch to the next PowerPoint slide before any of us could write down the information provided on it and then proclaim that IN COLLEGE the professors will say everything aloud so as to dispense so much information as quickly as possible without waiting for you and that, at this rate, we won’t be able to catch up. Of the 10 classes I have completed in college, most professors will type up their notes for the class to read along with or will at least warn you with a “you should be taking notes on this”. Not one professor has declined a student when asked to slow down, go back to the previous slide, or repeat what they just said. College is not a high-speed race.
I remember it being severely stressed that scores and grades are what got you into a good college. Yet, in the application process, I found that college admissions could care less if my A’s were B’s and were actually focused on how involved I was with my community, if I had worked during schooling, what sports I played, and what race I was. I’m not saying academics aren’t important; I’m saying that I wish I had done more community service or showed more involvement in my grade schooling as that’s what they were looking for. Nobody ever told me that.
In high school, college life is very much idolized and glorified. As soon as you step onto the campus of a university, you would be initiated immediately as a party girl or frat boy that excessively enjoys crazy nights of alcohol, sex, and drugs while cleaning up your act and profoundly studying throughout the week days to become a successful job prospect by graduation. You don’t realize how ridiculous this cookie-cutter college student concept is until you spend a year as an actual student. You will see that some of your peers will fit that description, and maybe you will yourself. But most likely, you’ll find that studying lasts all week long and that being a partier takes its toll very fast and that you really enjoy nights in with your friends, just relaxing and ordering pizza.
For some reason, there was the idea that, once in college, everyone will learn to “grow up” and decrease the adolescent high school drama that has plagued us for years. A lot of people here have complained to me that we still act so “high school”, even when we’re in college. I hate to break it to you, but entering through the gates of a university does not instantly grant one enlightenment and adulthood. It is not that, over the course of the summer between graduating high school and beginning college, one finally matures and understands the ways of life. We are all still learning!! It takes years and years to grasp advanced concepts such as not caring what others think of you and not starting petty arguments and getting over your sense of pride when proven wrong. It’s okay that we’re still learning. We have time; we are still young.
I don’t know why I have to say this, but some people think that their mother, father, or guardian will somehow be there in spirit to do the things they normally do to make their kid’s life easier. You are practically on your own. Take the time before you get to college to learn how to wash dishes, make your bed every morning, wash and dry your clothes (including how to remove stains), change your sheets, vacuum carpets, make a sandwich, even learn basic sewing. If you think Mom will swoop in every month and beautify your dorm room, you are sorely mistaken and are ruining college as a transition into the real world, where everything is your responsibility. Now is the time to learn these skills and to assert your independence. You can do this.