After taking off the cap and gown and finally putting that hard-earned high school diploma on display, many soon-to-be college freshmen have great expectations about the next four years of their life. Some of these expectations, however, can fall flat once the reality of college life hits. Whether it has to do with the difficulty of classes, the social life, or as simple as expecting what the food will be like, college may be full of surprises.
Upperclassmen don’t talk to lowerclassmen
In high school, freshmen are on the receiving end of jokes and pranks as the upperclassmen are sure to direct them to the pool on the floor that doesn’t exist or send them to the wrong class when asked for help. Because college classes are large and include students of various years (especially general education classes), the distinction between upperclassmen and lowerclassmen is less apparent. Thus, it is possible you will be having upperclassmen in your study groups and social circles.
You’ll be praised for being an overachiever
Sure, you’re already ahead of the game because you were president of several clubs, got a perfect score on the SAT/ACT, and will be bringing in a myriad of AP and Dual Enrollment credits … but so is everyone else. College is a different ballgame and, quite frankly, there are too many students to compete with. So ‘do you’ and don’t expect to be praised for going above and beyond.
The Dining Hall Food will be like Mama’s Cooking
Maybe it depends on the school, but the food offered at college dining halls isn’t always great. Thus, you may have to learn your way around them by stocking up on fruits, canned foods, and dry goods. Chain restaurants like Subway or Starbucks are also very common on college campuses. If you believe you’ll be spending a significant amount of money on food, you might want to look into your school’s meal plan options.
Finals are the scariest thing in the world
Growing up, all of our favorite college-themed movies featured the notorious finals week: Studying nonstop in a pile of empty ramen noodle packages while completely disregarding personal hygiene and never seeing the light of day. While finals are very important, they aren’t impossible. If you did what you were supposed to do –attend class, study throughout the semester, reach out to your teaching assistants and professors for help—passing your finals shouldn’t be a problem.
You’ll be besties with your roommate
Ending up with a cool roommate can be a hit or miss. There may situations where your schedules don’t align and you end up only seeing your roommate once in a blue moon. Either that or your roommate has nothing in common with you. If that’s the case –it’s okay. College offers plenty of opportunities to make new friends—study groups, clubs, parties, sports, etc.
Everyone will think like you
This one shouldn’t be a shocker but, surprisingly enough, college puts you in situations where you think to yourself, “What is this lunatic saying and why do they think they’re right?” Because college attracts people of all economic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, you are bound to meet someone who strongly disagrees with you and vice versa. Though this makes for interesting class discussions, remember to be mindful of opinions that differ from your own. In the end, being exposed to all these different points of view is one of the things that makes college such a unique learning experience.
By Edysmar Diaz-Cruz