Going to college can be scary, exciting, fun, nerve wracking, and basically every feeling under the Sun. Being prepared for what the next chapter of your life is going to be all about will help balance these emotions, but there are definitely some things your family and friends forgot to mention.
1. Life-long best friends don't just knock at your door.
I mean, sometimes they do quite literally knock on your dorm room door the first day of school and you engage in awkward small talk until suddenly you're best friends, but this isn't always the case. I was always told that I would meet my new squad here in college and, YES, I made some amazing friends; however, don't rush this process. Meeting your friends will come naturally, so don't worry about this too much. In the meantime, considering joining some clubs or introducing yourself to your new neighbors!
2. You'll have free time at awkward parts of the day.
Because you aren't in school for 6-7 hours a day like you're used to in high school, you may very easily find yourself having nothing better to do than watch Netflix from 2-4 PM. The first thing to know is, that's okay! Allowing yourself time to relax and watch your favorite shows is necessary for college survival. However, try to use these awkward time periods to quickly study, clean your room, or simply catch up on life.
3. There are many contradictions at this time in your life.
Have fun during these best times in your life, but don't have too much fun. Join clubs, get an internship, maintain a high GPA, but don't stress yourself out. Be productive, but allow yourself time to relax. I know, it can be confusing to figure out if you're on the right track, but this is the joy of college. You can figure out what balances work for you and what habits to form before you leave university.
4. Your professors will treat you like an adult as long as you act like one.
My high school teachers would constantly harp on how professors exception perfection and will not tolerate mistakes, but I found the opposite to be true. As long as you are putting in your best effort and handling your workload in a responsible manner, almost all professors are more than willing to help you out and make sure you pass (and maybe even enjoy) the class. Take advantage of office hours... professors want you to come, most of the time they're bored!
5. You might not feel homesick, but you'll miss normalcy.
Dinner with your family. Your own bed. Your own shower. You may not feel that you immediately miss your old life, but eventually, you will miss the things that were once normal to you. Listen to these thoughts. Visit home some weekends. Call your grandma. Do what you need to do to embrace your life at home while simultaneously working to make college your new home.
6. College truly is a fresh start.
I know, I know. I'm sure you have heard this one before, but that's because it's true! If you wish to break free of some bad habits, college is the place to do that. Nobody knows who you are here, so don't fear that rumor or gossip can hinder you in your college life. Besides being able to reinvent yourself socially, college academics are much different. For me, I would try my absolute hardest to get A's in high school, but it never quite worked. College was a surprisingly different story! I studied a decent amount, always completed my homework, and was extremely successful. The key is to never label yourself as a "bad test taker" or "just not a school person." Try your best and you're bound to succeed.
7. Good grades are awesome, but learn to have some fun.
This was a struggle for me. I'm a nervous, anxious, perfectionist, so I stress over grades often. Although I am still trying to learn this myself, I highly encourage every new college student to say yes to hanging out with friends, spending a little more money than you should, and simply treating yourself to a good time. These are the moments you'll never forget so don't trade them for anything!