This is a list of 16 things I wish people would have told me about college. As a sophomore at a private university, you hear so many comments and questions. But you get to the university and are immediately confused and lost. I wish I would have known the following 16 things before I left home for freshmen year.
You will NOT Lose your Faith Unless that is What You Choose.
I am proud to be a Christian and being in college has brought me closer to God. As a college student, you have some ups and downs but in those times, you usually realize who you are. You begin to appreciate God with all you have. I am not saying that keeping your faith is easy because it isn’t. You have three tests, homework, classes, and two papers due this week, plus you are supposed to have three meals a day, sleep eight plus hours at night, shower, and still have a social life. You end up forgetting to leave time in your busy life to put God first because you don’t have time. But what I found is that sitting down with my devotional and bible for just ten-fifteen minutes every morning, you start noticing all the little things about life that you’ve been overlooking. So, if you’ve been told that you always lose your faith in college, I beg to differ.
Your Dorm Room does NOT have to Look like it Came Out of the Target Catalog.
If you think your room needs to match your roommates and it needs to look all perfect, just stop right there. Your room is yours so make it that way, not what the world “expects” because if you aren’t comfortable in your own space things will become harder. Some things I know that I would go crazy without would be shelves, buckets, and drawers. Storage is the key to keeping your stuff organized and clean. Make sure you have a fridge and microwave for your room, you and your roommate can split the price and share if you want. As for clothes, you really don’t need many because most college students will typically wear the same ten-twenty outfits. I wouldn’t survive without my Bluetooth alarm clock, surge protector outlet, laptop, chargers obviously, and command hooks! Decorate!!!! But not the way you see on the internet… make it yours.
Always have a Big Coat, a Light Jacket, and Rain Boots.
On a dead serious note… do not ever forget these items. Classes are not cancelled for temperatures below freezing, rain or storms, or wind! If anyone knows the weather the best it is your local college students who must walk to class in it every day. One more thing about weather, it always is changing… it could be raining on Monday, freezing on Tuesday, raining on Wednesday, windy on Thursday, and Sunny and 75 on Friday. Just be prepared!
Loans are Worth it.
College is expensive… I am a college student at Campbell University, a private university, and my family and I know how much tuition is because we get a bill every so often to remind us of the expense. I am drowning in loans as a sophomore, but I wouldn’t change a thing about it because this campus is all worth it. I cannot handle crowds which cancels out most public university with the class size of 50-500 students in one class together. Ever since freshman year I have felt at home here at Campbell. I grew up in a small town and Buies Creek is just that. Most people have no idea where Campbell is so we have to associate it with places like Lillington, Dunn, Erwin, and Sanford. Campbell has small classes and my largest class size so far was eighty students never 500 and we always see someone we know when we step outside. All my professors have been extremely helpful, caring, understanding, and a blessing to my education. I am proud to pay loans to come to such an amazing school and I don’t regret it.
You do NOT have to Party.
All students typically hear about college is about the parties. Parties are not important. I am almost a junior and I am perfectly okay with saying I have not been to a party. A college party does not help you find friends, become popular, or figure out who you are. But if you want to experience a college party, be my guest. On one condition, if you go to this party… you do not have to do anything you do not want to do. That is how people get hurt. Speaking from my perspective, no one picks up their “drunk friend” who is passed out on the bathroom floor and who knows if they will ever wake up again. Peer pressure at parties is not worth losing your life over becoming friends with the popular or cool kids.
If you don’t Already have a Coffee Dependency, you will.
There is a Starbucks on my campus that uses money off my meal plan… let’s just say I have Starbucks two-three times if not more a week. So, everything else should just explain itself with this one.
The “Freshmen 15” is NOT a Thing for Everyone.
If you haven’t heard of the “Freshmen 15” it is a claim that freshmen tend to gain fifteen or so pounds over their first year of college. Well let me tell you something… The “Freshmen 15” is a choice! Not everyone goes through it, but some freshmen do. It is all in your mindset whether you have the strength to fight it, or if you really just don’t care. If you choose the path to fight it and you make sure you eat healthy, stay active, and get appropriate sleep you will most likely maintain your weight or even lose weight. But if you come to college with an “I don’t care” attitude then the “Freshmen 15” has already claimed you as their own… I’m just throwing that out there…
You do NOT have to Experience All-Nighters.
Not all college students participate in all-nighters of studying or partying. I have not had an all-nighter since I started college and I am proud of that. If you want to do it once to say you did, go for it. But if I were you, I would pass because most of the time it makes things worse than they would have been. Keep a planner, stay updated with all your classes, prioritize your responsibilities. You are a young adult now so start changing from your teenage, spontaneous, forgetful lifestyle.
Learn Study Habits!
I cannot stress this enough. Figure out how you learn best and teach yourself how you can study and achieve your best. Myself, like most high school students, are never taught how to study and never had to study for high school tests. But one thing I learned quickly about college test is that you can start studying weeks in advance for the test and still fail the test. So, start picking up on study habits now!
Housing Selection is The Hunger Games of college.
Have you ever wanted to know what Katniss felt like when the random drawing of names was chosen? Well now you can! Housing selection usually goes in an order of upperclassmen to freshmen, but once it is open it is a race to get the room, apartment, residence hall you want. And “May the odds be ever in your favor!”
Registering for Classes is like Trying to Find a Needle in a Haystack.
This isn’t high school where your class counselor sits with you in the hall and schedules your classes with you for the following year. You have an advisor and if you are like me you have had more than one advisors… But it is your job and duty to schedule an appointment with them to schedule classes each semester. If you fail to do so, your class registration will not open back up until after everyone else has already gone through. Before you go to your meeting with your advisor have a plan for your schedule and an idea of what you think you need and want to take. If you have the option to register online before meeting your advisor, I would highly recommend it! It keeps you more organized and helps your adviser go through their process faster too. As for deciding what classes to take that’s the needle in a haystack… Usually you are given a mass list of all the courses offered that semester and you should go through the entire list finding your class and a time that works for you. You should base your classes off a master schedule given to you freshmen year or you might get completely off course and it will be forever to make up for lost time.
Drama doesn’t Stop for College and You may not Make Lifetime Friends…
You know that middle and high school drama most everyone suffered through at some point. You may think that once you get to college it just magically disappears. Well I hate to break it to you but your fairy godmother can’t get you out of this one. There will always be that one “friend” who brings all their lifetime drama with them to college.
Friends… you always hear about all these adults who are still BFFs with their old college roommate. Well that isn’t always the case… You know that drama queen we were talking about earlier well she will think that you and them will be BFFs no matter what and that you are going to be in their wedding. Hate to burst their bubble but I would rather pass. You might meet that person who was real close to you in college but then you just become acquaintances. You might meet that one friend who through the college years of your life they were always there, but once you graduate they disappear. But all those friends are okay to have because they will be your memories and lessons for those years. And you may meet that one person who brightens your day, makes you laugh when you want to cry, listens and gives advice no matter what time of day it is, and who is there for you no matter how far away your life may take you apart you’ll always be friends. But if you don’t meet someone like that last friend it isn’t the end of the world. College is an experience of many lessons and memories no matter how many friends you have or how long they stay by your side.
It is Okay to do Things by Yourself.
Some days you might just need some time alone, we all need time to just be by ourselves. Even the most extroverted person on earth needs some time alone. Don’t be afraid to go eat alone because you don’t want to look like you have no friends. Don’t be afraid to go on a walk outside alone when you need a study break or just need some time to think. Don’t be afraid that people around you are talking about you or judging you for being alone. Trust me every college student has eaten or walked to class alone and has enjoyed it. But make sure that you don’t become the person who is always alone, never seen with friends, or is always in their room. If that is you, you’re missing out on the main experiences of college life. Make sure you get out of your comfort zone and let go for a while. And go make some amazing memories!
You Don’t Have to Give Up on Your Relationship.
I am about 64 miles away from my boyfriend who I have been dating for almost two years now, it will be two years May 25, 2017. I am a sophomore, almost a junior in college and we started dating my senior year of high school. I’ve decided to list a few things some people tell or ask me about my relationship in college and explain my views, so you can get things straight:
You can’t experience college right with a boyfriend
First this is wrong on so many levels… College is not designed for you to experience one-night stands, drunk nights, or parties. College is designed to extend your education and knowledge. You can experience all the perks of college like sports, clubs, Greek life, friendships, adventures, and everything in between while still steadily holding on to a relationship.
Being in a relationship adds stress to your already stressful college life
So, the next one is kind of true but also not so true. Any relationship, whether it is a friendship, boyfriend/girlfriend, family, or whatever; they are all going to add extra stress to your life no matter what. But you don’t sit there and tell me not to worry and stress about my family, do you? No, not usually, because that would be just wrong on so many levels. So why would you tell me not to stress about my relationship. We are human, we stress of things we love and have a passion for.
Are you okay with your long-distance relationship?
Am I okay with my long-distance relationship? Duh. Is it hard? Yes. Would I change anything? NO! I’m going to get real with you, being in a relationship in college is not easy in the first place being in a long-distance relationship in college is even harder. But I am perfectly okay with my relationship because no matter the distance between us, we always have time for each other. Being in a long-distance relationship has helped me realize that you never know how much someone means to you until you cannot see them for a certain period of time. But once you see them again, you honestly don’t ever want to leave them again but you do because you chose something you wanted and got the best of both worlds.
I would never be able to do that
The most common comment I receive when others find out that I am in a long-distance relationship… “I would never be able to do that.” So, what you may not be able to do it but I am and that is okay with me. Just stop saying that.
You never have time for your friends because you always go home to see your boyfriend
This statement “You never have time for your friends because you always go home to see your boyfriend” just angers me so badly. People seem to not comprehend the fact that I am a family person. I love being around my family and we are all close. I got this comment a lot last semester because I was always going home every weekend. But it wasn’t just to see my boyfriend… My grandfather, Papaw as I call him, had open heart surgery the second day of last semester. I was going home to go to the hospital to spend time with my family that I never knew if I would be able to get back. Yes, I did see my boyfriend every weekend but he wasn’t the only reason I went home. And as my spring semester of sophomore year is coming closer to the end I still go home every weekend to see my boyfriend, but most importantly to spend time with my family.
Breaks must be great because you would be able to see him everyday
I laugh every time someone tells me that breaks are nice because I would get to see him every day. I don’t laugh because it’s true, I laugh because that’s what they think and it amuses me. Breaks are better than being at school for a week, but I still don’t see him every day. He has family that live out-of-town and when he gets a break he goes to visit them. So people who think that I have it easier than the couples who live far away but met on campus they are still wrong…
Isn’t dating someone younger than you awkward?
One of the most common questions… so, my boyfriend is younger than me. But I will be the first to tell you that he is more mature and caring than most guys my age or older than me.
I bet you keep a lot of secrets
I do not keep secrets from him! Period. Point Blank.
How do you prioritize?
This question is quite common and one I still struggle with. When I am at school, I tend to focus solely on school and friends here during the day. We mostly talk/text at night when he gets home from his class. On the weekends, it is kind of sporadic we usually try to get the majority of homework completed first and then spend time together and with each other’s families. But we also make sure we have time for friends too. So, it is most of the time up in the air but it works for us.
Those statements/questions are just a glimpse of what I hear constantly from so many people. So, going to college does not on any circumstance mean you must give up your relationship status. If you think you can grow and learn from a relationship your college years, go for it!
You will Miss Home.
It is perfectly acceptable and common that every college student misses home at some point if not through most of the years spent on campus. I know that I miss home and hate leaving home every time I go back, even if it is every weekend. I’m a homebody, always have been, and that hasn’t changed. So, when people tell you that you shouldn’t come home for the first month or whatever. You don’t have to listen to them. Go home if you want that is your roots, your grounds. Going home can help relieve stress, nervousness, fears, or homesickness… Yes, it is hard to leave every time, and as of right now it hasn’t gotten much easier. But going home for me is worth every last drop of gas because that is time I know I will never get back with my family and friends, it is time I know that I will never regret. I made my decisions to go home, you make yours.
It Won’t Be Easy. It Will Be Worth It.
Do not under any circumstances go to college thinking it will be like high school or that it will be so easy. Because it isn’t. It is a slap in the face. If you’ve always depended on your parents, you have so many things you have to learn. If you’ve never washed clothes, done dishes, vacuumed or swept, or taken out the trash… LEARN. If you have never studied for a test, learn how to study, because you can walk into a test that you started studying weeks ago and still fail it. Bring your teddy bear, because it is the only one that won’t judge you for crying over an assignment you procrastinated till the night before on. College is nowhere near easy; it is so far from it! But it is worth it! No matter the situations, surprises, bumps, rain clouds, or whatever else life throws at you during your time spent in college it is worth it. I have learned more than just what I need for my major, but I have learned who I am and where I belong. I have become more independent, more outgoing (sometimes), I have become stronger physically and emotionally, I have learned what true friends are, but most importantly; I have learned to be myself, cherish my family and friends, and enjoy the ride.