High school wasn't "the best years of my life" and I didn't want it to be. The thought that so many people think ages 14-18 are the best years of their lives actually makes me sad. Coming from a very small town, I wanted to go out of state for college. I thought that if I had stayed in my state I wouldn't be explore what the world has to offer. But, I am here to tell you that no matter where you go, college is what you make of it. Of course you can't really avoid overpriced textbooks or a few bad professors, but you can put yourself out there and try to have a great experience.
Here are some tips for your first year:
First of all, don't be afraid to go to college as undecided or undeclared. Not everyone knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and most people change their minds a few times anyway. I changed my major once and my minor twice and I finally feel like I'm in the right spot. My advice for anyone would be, don't force yourself into a major just because your family wants you to do it or you want to make money. There's nothing worse than realizing senior year that you made the wrong choice for a career path when you were 17 or 18 years old.
Don't try to force yourself into a group of people. Hang out with people that make you happy and accept you for who you are. Hangout with people you can truly laugh and live with. The people you can study with but also eat pizza with at 3 in the morning. If you go to a college like mine, you have 25,000 potential people to meet. Don't get stressed if you don't get along with one person, just move on to the next one. There are too many people on campus to stress so much over one.
GET SLEEP. You will realize that in college you actually turn back into a toddler. I think I actually nap more in college than I did when I was 4. A lot of people swear by all nighters or staying up for 48 hours straight during finals week, but not me. Get organized, plan your day out, and you will have time for sleep.
Spend, but also save. No one likes a person that relies on their parents for everything, and I'm sure those parents don't really like it either. Treat yourself once in awhile, but don't go overboard. Most of us have loans to pay off anyway. Your future self will thank you for putting money in your savings once in awhile (and not transferring it right back to the spend account).
GO TO THE GYM. The Freshman 15 is real; I've seen it with my own eyes. But I was also able to LOSE 15 pounds my freshman year of college. There are more healthy options nutrition wise here than at home for me, and the gym is within walking distance. Make the gym your best friend. It's good for your body physically, but it's also an amazing way to release stress, which you will have an abundance of.
Stay in touch with your family and friends from home. A lot of people say that when everyone goes their separate ways for college, you lose your home friends. But that wasn't really true for me. Don't forget about them, and be extra happy to see them over breaks. And if possible, visit them at their college and have them visit yours.
All in all, try to be happy. Try to step out of your comfort zone once in awhile. If you're bothered by something, change it. If you want to join a sorority or fraternity, do it. If you don't want to, don't do it (especially since they are so expensive). Join a few clubs. Go out, have fun. Stay in and eat all day and watch The Office. College is what you make of it and CAN potentially be the actual best years of your life.