There were a lot of things that I didn’t know to expect coming into college (longboards were everywhere), but there are some major differences between the two that I think every high school senior should know.

1. The weather.

Depending on where you choose to go to college, it’s likely that there will be some severe weather in your area: snow, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, what-have-you. You think you’ll get lucky, that school will just get canceled? Think again. Individual classes in particular might be cancelled, but school itself won’t shut down (I can testify to that). You better buy yourself a good umbrella and some snowshoes because chances are, you’ll be walking. Some common phrases that I hear around campus “What’s a snow-day?” (because they don’t exist for college students) and “I can’t feel my face at NMU” (because it gets so ridiculously cold).

2. Fashion.

I don’t know about you, but I always tried to look decent for high school: I’d put on make-up, try to do something with my hair, make sure my clothes matched. In college, that mindset tends to be thrown out the window. There is an obligation felt, that as a college student, you need to go to class because each session roughly costs you fifty or more dollars. So you go to class. Sometimes you just roll out of bed, sometimes you go straight from the gym. Everybody has had a day where all you can do it, move your hair out of your face, pull on some sweatpants, and hope for the best; because everybody has had one of those days. We don’t judge you when you’re having one, too.

Some people come to class looking like they’ve just rolled out of bed while others come to class looking like they’ve just left the runway. The great thing about college is that nobody really cares what you look like (unless it’s an interview or something … first impressions are important).

In high school, there was always a pressure to look presentable, to be up to par on fashion, to stick with a similar style. It can be interesting, don’t get me wrong, but it can be incredibly stressful, too.

3. Language.

My friend walked into his first college class ever and within two minutes, his professor dropped the F-bomb three times. You can go from one class where a professor will swear like a sailor to another class where the professor won’t tolerate swearing at all. In college, instructors understand that students are in class of their own free will and are paying money to be there, they understand that students are adults and can swear if they do or do not want to do so.