The Freshman Shock

The Freshman Shock

The little things about college that caught me by surprise.

The Freshman Shock
Breakthrough Miami

College is a new and exciting chapter in anyone’s life. The excitement of being your own person—or for some of us figuring out our own person—the freedom, the new friends and many more awesome things I need not mention. Graduating high school was a big deal to some of my female friends and I because we have had to fight against beliefs that educating women is a waste of time or that our places are in the kitchen alone. I remember the pride we felt on graduation day; we screamed at the tops of our voices, “Thank God! They said we couldn’t do it and we did.” Oh the thrill we felt when we talked about going further and taking on whatever challenges college would bring. After all, we were prepared; or so we thought. Not to write off the efforts we put forth to be prepare for college; because, to an extent we were prepared. We had been accepted into schools of our choices that corresponded with our intended majors, we had looked up what we would need for our dorms, we had applied for financial aid and scholarships… everything our counselors, parents and colleges had advised us to do. Then the day came, we moved into our dorms, said bye to families, maybe cried a little, arranged our clothes and met our roommates. Everything is good, until it slowly dawns on you that, there is a whole lot more to college you were not prepared for. I like to call it “The Freshman Shock”.

The first freshman shock was the emotional adjustment to College life. Some high schools arrange meetings with parents to encourage them to ‘let go’ and support their child’s plan. There is not a lot of focus on students since we are extremely excited for what lies ahead. Therefore, we were not told that a few months or days into college, the thought of living in our parent’s basements for the rest of our lives would start to sound appealing. If you are like me and have never stayed even a second away from your mother and siblings at the same time, it’s even harder. You have to adjust from being around people who have always cared about every single thing you did, to people who couldn’t care less about whether you are anemic, much less if your outfit matches your shoes. All of a sudden the ever-nosy-always-in-your-business people don’t sound too bad and you find yourself questioning if you will ever be able to survive without them close by.

The second shock is academic realization. This consists of all we uncovered about college education. We were warned that college assignments would be more challenging than those in high school, but the warnings were sugar-coded. No one mentioned that unlike high school, efforts could mean nothing to your grades if your professor’s expectations are not met. We were not told that slacking on one or half of an assignment could put the entire semester in jeopardy.
In addition, our counselors encouraged us to apply to schools that focused on our intended major which is reasonable. Except we were not warned that the burning passion we had for that major could go from a 100 to 0 real quick. They did not include possible solutions, regarding what to do if your intended major changed.

The third shock is financial struggles. They told us college is something you have to go through to guarantee a job; but they left out the part that you cannot go through it without a job. I imagine college students yelling preach sister at the mention of the sentence above. When preparing for college, the main focus was getting as much financial aid as possible, so that finance wouldn’t be an issue in school. The concept we were made to believe was that we would be set if we had a good financial package. But then, what is a good financial package? Simply put, the good financial package they were talking about is a full ride. Every other package seems perfect until, you are stressing out on an essay and the school or loan group emails you about your intentions on some outstanding payment. And you are just like “what exactly am I supposed to do here?”

In addition to the struggle of college payments is the expenses on books. My younger sister and I once went to a Barnes and Nobles store to buy a cheap story book for my two year old cousin. I bought the book, less than ten dollars and my sister comes up with a book she always wanted that she had apparently saved about sixty dollars for. I gave her a hard time all the way home because it made no sense that a broke student would spend that much on a book. Little did I know, that a few months from then I, in a broker state, would be spending almost half a grand on books I did not know existed.

The fourth shock is motivation also known as ‘contemplating the stripper life.’ This stage is composed of all the mornings I think about what college is really offering to students. I wake up and start to search for the motivation to get up and get the day over with, but mostly to get up. I still cannot understand what happens to my motivation sometimes. It seems she just takes a vacation whenever she wants regardless of where that leaves me. You would think because there are people who have little faith that I’ll graduate college, I would be motivated enough. I’m not! As far as I am concerned, they don’t have to read 9-12 books in a semester, they don’t have to pull all-nighters after choosing to nap during the day, they don’t have to pay my debt or buy my books. Therefore, I couldn’t care less about their ignorance or what they have to say.

Mornings like these are when I start to question education. How is it that, as students we study hard, stay up some nights, deal with fellow students’ ridiculous opinions, sacrifice quite a lot and in the end, we have loans that we might spend the rest of our lives paying back, jobless due to lack of ten years’ experience or having jobs that may or may not be related to our major. Whereas, a stripper is guaranteed an average of approximately $50,000 annually—no loans. It's like we are being punished for getting an education. Of course we were not told this when applying to college. We were told education is the right way to success and that is it. Although that may be very true, why is the right way so expensive and hard? And why didn’t anyone inform or warn us ahead?

I only focused on ‘the four freshman shocks’ in this article but something tells me there may be a lot more ahead. If there is anything these things have taught me, it is that I got this; we got this. I still get up from the bed, I somehow settle the financial issues and buy books. I found my own little family here in college and most importantly I have hope for the future—hope that our efforts and hard work will be crowned with success.

I want to acknowledge the efforts of everyone who helped me prepare for college; you did your best and I am grateful. You also probably thought these things I have written about, were something I ought to experience myself. I am experiencing them and they have taught me to not limit my expectations.

For incoming freshmen, this is a spoiler alert to encourage you to be better prepared. College is the portal to the real world. The trick is to have a motivation that triumphs all worries. My motivation is my single mother who, with the help of God and family, has done her best to make sure I made it this far as well as my younger sisters who watch the pace I set. When I start to question education or the future and they come to mind, motivation comes back from wherever she went. Find your motivation and triumph college and its challenges.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Everything You Need To Know About Macronutrients, Because A Diet Should Be More Than Calories

Pay attention to what you're eating, not just how much you're eating.

Plenty of people are familiar with the "calories in, calories out" (CICO) method of dieting which can be used for losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. This method relies on calculating a person's total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) to ensure that they are not overeating or undereating to achieve their desired weight. TDEE considers a person's height, weight, age, gender, and level of activity to determine what their caloric intake should be — some calculators can factor in body fat percentage as well. When I used a TDEE calculator online, it said that my TDEE would be 1,990 calories if I was trying to maintain my weight, but are all calories created equal? I'd argue that they're not.

It might seem obvious to some of you that 1,990 calories of macaroni and cheese are not healthy at all compared to 1,990 calories of varied foods (fruit, veggies, meat, bread, etc.).

Keep Reading... Show less

Just Because You're Asked To Be In A Wedding, Doesn't Always Mean You Should Say Yes

If you can't invest time, money, and YOURSELF, maybe say no to the offer for the bride's sake!

Being in a wedding is a really big commitment. I personally think if you've never been in one before, you don't understand the time, money, and energy that goes into being a part of it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

If I Unfriend You During The 2020 Election, Yes, It's Personal

President Donald Trump and Joe Biden's plans for Black America matter.

The Black Lives Matter movements have sparked widespread conversations and protests across the nation. With justice not being served for the murders of innocent Black people like Breonna Taylor and absolutely no support from President Donald Trump, this upcoming election is quite important.

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether you're turning 18, 26, or 34, it is quite normal to find yourself looking for "Mr. Right" — or whichever title prefix relates to you. As someone who is in a similar situation, I've started forcing myself to become aware of my actions and decisions when it comes to any romantic interests — it hasn't been easy in the slightest!

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether you're in an unhealthy relationship currently, you know someone who is, or you just want to have these numbers saved just in case it could one day save someone's life (if not your own), this article is for you. Here are three numbers to save in your contacts ASAP so you can always be safe, both physically and mentally, in every relationship.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Dear Closeted Latina,

You were never alone.

Remember how the Latin world got rocked when Ricky Martin came out?

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

I'll admit it, when I first met you, I wasn't sure how well things were going to work out. Although I didn't know you that well at the time, we seemed to be opposites in almost every way. You were cool, edgy, and laid-back, and I was more awkward, goofy, and anxious.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Caribbean is a place where people go for vacation, but if you set out from a cruise ship you miss out on all the beautiful culture. Their exotic beaches are nothing without their zinging food and hospitality. Locals in the Caribbean are warmhearted with a zest to live life to the fullest.

This is exactly where most of their words and phrases come from, having a good time. I definitely enjoyed myself living in the Caribbean, but it's not always about lounging. They get work done too and I've learned proper phrases for accomplishments.

Keep Reading... Show less

It wasn't until I hit 23 years old that I started getting hangovers. It could've been from two glasses of wine or even a margarita at happy hour, the next day, consider me bed-bound until further notice.

Keep Reading... Show less

What's Coming To And Leaving Netflix In August For Your Summer Viewing Pleasure

Just in time for another your end of summer binge-watch list.

Flower Films, Warner Bros, New Line Cinema

August is here, which means we will be losing some of our Netflix favorites but gaining some new ones. Here is a list of TV shows and movies we will be losing and gaining on Netflix during August.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments