I just recently finished up my first four years of college. Like most, I was pretty excited for college but I didn’t know what quite to expect. I have put together a list of some of the things I wish I knew before I got here.
1. Who you used to be doesn’t really matter now.
College is essentially a fresh start at discovering who you are and who you want to be. Nobody cares if you were the homecoming Queen, nobody cares how many touchdown passes you threw, and nobody cares how many friends you didn’t have.
You get a new identity. You are not judged by your past and you have no expectations placed on you by your new friends. For some people this is great and some people waste the opportunity. I wish I knew that when I walked into my dorm room as a freshmen that I had a chance to be whoever I wanted to be.
2. It goes by quick.
Like anything, college goes by quick. I remember moving into the dorms my freshmen year like it was yesterday. Now, at the snap of a finger, I’m done. It goes by quick so make the most of every moment. I wish I knew that college went by so quick.
3. You have to be social.
Most likely, you aren’t going to know many people when you get there. So, you have to be social. Everyone has different personalities, but you need to figure out a social setting in which you feel comfortable and make some friends. Spending hours upon hours alone in your dorm room isn’t going to give you a great college experience. Most college campuses are flooded with clubs, greeks, sports, and leadership opportunities, so there is no excuse to not get involved and make friends. If they don’t have anything for you, start it! I wish I knew I had to make friends!
4. College is hard.
Just doing the homework isn’t enough to pass most college classes. Coming from the guy who hates studying, in college you are going to have to study. You don’t always have to go to class and you don’t always have to do your homework, but when it comes to taking exams and writing papers, you better get your life together. My GPA wishes that it knew this my freshmen year.
5. You’re not very good at cooking.
There is no faster way to discover this than when you are a poor college student who can’t afford to have someone cook for you. My freshmen year, I lived mainly off dorm food which can’t be good for anybody. It turns out, I’m not very good at cooking. Sure, I have two or three “Go-to” primetime meals, just as most do, but when it comes to constantly putting good food on the table, I wish I would have known what I was getting myself into so I could have prepared better.
6. You will get homesick.
I remember reciting to myself “I can’t wait to move out.” Moving out and being responsible for yourself is exciting, but eventually you will probably get homesick. As early as the first couple days or maybe it will be a few months, but it will happen. For the first three weeks of me being in college, it felt like I was on vacation. But eventually you come to the realization, I’m not going home. And it stings. I used to go home a lot as a freshmen, now the homesickness has faded. You will be homesick, and that is perfectly okay.
7. Your old friends disappear.
Not all of them, but some of those people you always thought you would be friends with are going to disappear. But, you’re not really sad about it. You still run into them on occasion and it feels like you picked up where you left off, but they are no longer consistently there. I hate to ruin your day, but the people you are so certain you will be doing life with are probably not going to be around in five years.
8. You will meet friends that you will have forever.
People tend to truly discover who they are and who they will be in college. With that being said, you will find people in college who share similar career paths, passions, faiths, and lifestyles that will keep drawing you back together over the course of your life.
9. Your college tour isn’t everything it seems.
Your visit to your favorite college is likely going to be nothing like what it appeared on that beautiful spring tour day. Your tour will take you through the prettiest parts of campus, show you the best dorms, and the most hi-tech classrooms. Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but this probably isn’t an accurate projection of what your life and studies on campus will look like.
10.You don’t know what you want to do with your life.
Nearly everyone changes their major, most change it more than once. Most people who go to college don’t know what they want to do, and that’s okay. Take some general education classes and discover some of the areas that interest you, then go from there. I wish I knew that it was okay being uncertain of wanted to do before I walked into college.
11. You will make mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes and those in college are no exception. I will never encourage someone to make mistakes, I think that is pretty foolish. However, I encourage everyone to learn from their mistakes. Whether it be in regards to your education, relationships, actions, lifestyle or whatever else, learn from your mistakes.
12. Your faith will be tested.
Whether you’re going to a Christian school or not, your faith will be tested. Your parents are no longer around. Your old life is gone. No one is making you go to church. There are people who are doing things that appear to be a lot of fun, which may conflict with your religious views. I am telling you that it is going to happen. It is important to get yourself involved in the right communities before you become influenced by the wrong ones. I found this out quick!
13. The freshmen 15 is real.
You are more likely to put on weight your freshmen year than any other year of college. There is a lot of change to your diet and to your exercise patterns. I played sports in high school so I never had to worry about what I ate. Truthfully, I still don’t really worry about what I eat. But, I have to be intentional about getting exercise or it will become bad news bears real quick. I would recommend being smart about what you eat and consume, and being intentional about exercise.
14. Naps are your best friend.
Seriously. I need say no more.
15. Netflix may consume your soul.
I don’t have as much free-time as I used to, but Netflix is every college students’ third best friend, right behind naps and Mr. Google. You will be surprised at how quickly you can watch an entire season of _______. Then, you will be further surprised when you have watched the next season in even less time. I had no idea the influence Netflix would have on my college education, mostly bad.These are just some of the things that came to my mind as I was reflecting on my college career. I am certain that there are big ones that I have forgotten, so be sure to comment! Also, these things don’t affect everybody, but I think these are pretty good guidelines on things you should know walking in on your first day!