For an incoming freshman, college can seem like an extremely overwhelming undertaking. Personally, the idea of college excited me with its fresh new possibilities. However, I was a bit apprehensive about aspects of college, like sharing my living space for the first time or the ins-and-outs of getting involved on campus. I poured over hundreds of Youtube videos and articles geared towards helping college freshman, with promising titles like "What I Wish I Would've Known As a Freshman In College" or "Things You Need to Know About College". While it's true that they taught me a lot, here's 7 things I still wasn't prepared to experience as a college freshman.
1. You will get sick, and it will be terrible.
I thought I would be one of the few lucky students who was not going to get sick at the start of college, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only did I get sick, I lost my voice for days and I had a terrible cough that kept me and my roommate, (Sorry, sis!) awake at night. Not only were many of the people in my dorm sick at the same time as me, but lots of the students in my classes were sick as well, which made the germaphobe in me feel hopelessly enclosed in a box of infirmity. Luckily, my antibodies and I have made it out on the other side, and we're here to tell you that you're gonna get sick, too.
2. The food may be good now, but give it two months.
The allure of dining hall food is definitely a first-few-weeks of school phenomenon. Colleges like mine offer unlimited meal plans where students can dine at virtually any time they choose. But let's keep it real, you can only eat pizza so many times when the options aren't looking as appetizing as they were during Welcome Week. The food is *okay* at best, but it just doesn't compare to what I'm used to having at home. Every once in a while, though, the dining hall offers a banger that reinvigorates my nostalgic appreciation for what I've come to call "school food", so it's not all bad news.
3. Whether you come late to class or don't come at all, nobody cares.
In high school, I was used to each class' daily roll call confirming my presence and the phone calls waiting at home if I was absent. But in college, professors often have hundreds of students to teach and simply don't have the time to confirm- let alone notice- if anyone is unaccounted for. That makes sleeping in during that 8 a.m. lecture a lot easier, but I would definitely dissuade from doing so, because you never know if and when there will be a pop quiz or crucial hints for the next big exam.
4. Alone time is hard to come by.
You're socializing, you're really socializing! All. The. Time. In the hallways, in the bathroom, in your dorm room, in the common rooms, in the library (hopefully not in the quiet zones), on the quad...you get the point. If you're anything like me though, this kind of interaction is stimulating but sometimes very draining. All a girl needs sometimes is peace and quiet! I really cherish times where I can just be alone in my dorm room and chill out, but those times don't come around as often as you may think.
5. Friendships in college progress very, very quickly.
Hopefully, you'll meet some great friends in college that you enjoy, because you'll end up being around them all the freaking time. You'll be getting meals together, going to class together, studying together, partying together, doing almost everything under the sun...together. This honestly can be pretty great for people who typically struggle making friends, because with the friends you do have, you will feel as if you've known them for two lifetimes because you literally spend every waking moment together.
6. Free time is a complete myth.
I thought it was going to be hard to find things to do other than academics in college, but college has been by far the most involvement-centered endeavor I've ever been apart of. There's no end to the things offered outside of class that genuinely peak my interest. I simply don't have enough time in the day to do everything I want to do. Aside from the abundance of extra-curriculars, academics takes up a hefty amount of time as well. Most of the time, it seems I'm either in class, doing work outside of class, or procrastinating on work for class. Time is a hot commodity in college!
7. You may struggle with self-image.
Since you're around people virtually 24/7, constantly seeing others' accomplishments can cause a lot of comparison and envy. Whether it's your friend's grades or your classmates cool club title, it can seem like everyone is doing better than you all the time. Personally, constantly being around other girls in my dormitory made me think very negatively about my image, as I was comparing my appearance and attributes to those of to those of girls I barely even know. It made me feel like I constantly needed to look presentable to be liked or that because I perceived someone to be much better looking than me, everyone thought so as well. The truth is that everyone is typically much too worried about how they look to be worried about how you look as well, so stressing and comparing is really no good!
8. Homesickness is real, no matter how far away you are.
No matter how cool your campus is, no matter how many friends you've met, no matter how far (or close) you go for college, you will be homesick. Whether it's the longing you feel for sleeping in your own bed or whether you miss the deep one-way therapy sessions you had venting to your dog, you will miss home or some aspects of your home life. But, personally, homesickness has made me appreciate my home so much more and how blessed I am to have something to look forward to going back to on breaks.
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