I’ve seen numerous friends go off to college, but, as a Northwestern University student, I just started classes on September 20th. While they have midterms this upcoming week, I just finished going over class syllabi. So while I’m a bit late to the game, here are the 10 things I’ve learned in my first week of college.
1. College entails a lot of reading. In high school, I maybe had to read a few chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird one week, maybe 15 pages of a textbook the next. However, in college (and as a humanities major), the majority of my time not spent in class is spent reading. A 26-page PDF document is only a small fraction of the required readings per week.
2. Cars are an underappreciated luxury. The walk from the dorms to classrooms to dining halls to the library to the student union and to the dorm again is not for the faint of heart.
3. Every freshman gets sick. The freshman plague is inevitable when a herd of 18-year-olds are living in close quarters, running on little sleep.
4. Everything now requires an application. Unlike in high school where students could, for the most part, just sign up for any club they wanted to participate in, at college (at least mine), mostly every club requires an application and/or an interview for their limited spots.
5. Your parents aren’t there to make sure you go to bed at a reasonable hour. No one will remind you that it’s 3 o’clock in the morning, and you have class at 8 AM (see 3).
6. Be careful when ordering textbooks online. Textbooks can vary in terms of edition and form, and a book that’s not precisely what the professor called for in his or her syllabus will do little to no good.
7. Professors actually don’t care whether or not you show up to class. Some professors at various universities may use a roll call or automated clickers to ensure students are showing up to class, but in my first week experience, the professor has no record of me showing up to class– and would have no record if I didn’t show up to class.
8. Keys are somehow easier to lose. I have no idea why. Don’t worry, Mom, they were at the lost-and-found.
9. Money only goes out. I worked part-time in high school, so I was depositing money into my bank account at the same time I was withdrawing. However, as a jobless college student, the money I spend at the local Chinese restaurant won’t be coming back any time soon.10. Dining hall food gets really old, really fast. A person can only eat so much mac n’ cheese.