There are certain things about college that students expect to be difficult going in, like writing 25+ page papers, or living away from home for the first time. However, there are other parts of college that no one truly realizes will be so hard until experiencing them firsthand. These things that we pick up along the way are the things we wish someone would have told us before we started freshman year. For those who are getting ready for college or maybe those who are still trying to figure things out, you aren't alone!
1. Waking up for an early class in the winter.
In August, an 8 a.m. doesn't seem like such an awful idea. You can definitely handle waking up early a few times a week. By the time November rolls around, it gets harder and harder to leave your bed and make your way to class. Don't be fooled - the weather drastically affects your motivation to go to class.
2. Finding time to exercise.
You can try to convince yourself all you want, walking to and from classes does not count as exercise. Because you get to structure your own time in college, it's hard to discipline yourself to stay active.
3. Eating healthy.
This goes along with exercising. When you are in a rush, it's so much easier to grab something quick and not so healthy. It is really hard to keep up with eating enough veggies and protein instead of processed foods and sugar.
4. Filling out FAFSA.
It's almost like they don't want you to go to college! There are so many questions, and it takes forever to complete. Pro tip: DON'T leave it until the last minute. Start it early and get it done so you don't have to stress.
5. Scheduling your classes
Especially the closer you get to graduation, you have to start taking classes when they're available. If that means you have to take only night classes for a semester, you gotta do what you gotta do.
6. Finding parking
As a general rule, parking in college sucks. You might have guessed it would be bad, but you don't truly understand how bad until it's 8:07 and you've driven around campus for the 5th time without finding a single spot. Get there early if you want to park anywhere near your class building.
7. Sounding polite in an email when you are stressed or upset.
It's actually really hard to make sure your emails to professors or advisors sound professional, especially when you are upset. Have someone read through your draft before sending to catch any sarcasm or pettiness. Don't let your feelings on one day ruin a possible reference opportunity.
8. Scheduling time to meet with an advisor.
Your advisor will have a million things to do come scheduling time. They have other advisees to meet with, so you have to work around their schedule most of the time. It might seem like you will never get a chance to sit and talk with them, but you have to have patience.
9. Balancing your academic, social, and emotional life.
A lot of times, it seems like you have to pick one of the three. Part of college is about learning to make compromises based on your priorities. Academics are very important, but you need to take care of yourself as well. Also, college is supposed to be fun, so don't hide away in your room for four years. Take advantage of the experience and find the balance that works for you.
10. Time management.
You may think that it can't be much worse than in high school, but let me tell you: college is a whole different ballgame. There will come a time when you have four papers, two exams, and a project due within the same week. It's important to learn early how to manage your time, because once finals rolls around, you'll wish you hadn't put off studying or writing that paper.
11. Understanding that it's okay if your degree takes longer than 4 year.s
To me, this is the hardest thing to deal with. Going into college, most people are under the impression that college is four years, so anything more than that is not according to plan. Here's the thing: some degree programs take longer. Sometimes, you'll have to retake a class. You might even decide to switch majors. It's okay if you take more than four years to graduate. Don't feel pressured to follow some pre-designated path because it's different for everyone. Keep working toward your goal, and you will get there, even if it takes a little longer.