College: It’s NOT High School!
It may be only the first week of classes but I’ve already discovered that college and high school are VERY different. Here are some of the main things I’ve noticed so far:
You eat alone…a lot! At least I do, anyway. And people don’t care! I’ve never been ashamed of eating by myself, and in fact, I ate lunch alone pretty much every day last year in high school, so for me this hasn’t been a big transition. You’re probably thinking that I’m a hermit, anti-social, blah blah blah, but in reality I just like to have my own space sometimes. (I guess you could call me “selectively social.”) I’ve noticed that a lot of people eat alone. Everyone has class at different times and in some ways it’s a lot easier to eat when YOU want to, not at the time that works best for your friends. Don’t be afraid that eating alone will “cramp your style.” Sometimes eating alone IS the style!
You probably won’t have classes with your friends. Shocking, I know! If you and your friends happen to go to the same university but are completely different majors, DO NOT expect to have classes with them! We’re all big boys and girls now; I think we can deal with being alone for a few hours a day. I was a little crushed my first day when I didn’t recognize anyone in three of my four classes, but I’ve been okay so far. Some of my classes are actually pretty small, between 15 and 20 students and mainly freshmen, so hopefully I’ll be able to make friends. On the bright side, if I come to absolutely despise someone in one of my classes, I’ll only have to see them a few times a week!
Your mom won’t be there to wake you up in the morning. My mom has woken me up for school pretty much every morning since Kindergarten, and one of the only times she didn’t wake me up I slept through my alarm. It just so happens that that was the day of my graduation practice. Luckily I was only about 15 minutes late, but this could have turned out badly. It’s important to know what time your first class starts at and estimate how much time you’ll need to get ready. I brought an alarm clock with me because I know I sleep through my phone alarm, and I put it far enough away from my bed that I have to get up to turn it off. My mom usually texts me in the morning, but I have actually been able to get up on my own.
You sometimes won’t know what to do with yourself. I have a lot of time between my classes on most days, and my biggest challenge has been figuring out what to do. No matter how much you think you love your dorm room at first, it gets old quickly. The plain walls and few signs of creativity don’t make for a place that screams “great hangout spot,” and at least on my floor, there aren’t a lot of people around at the times I don’t have class. In general, the kids on my floor are nice and like to socialize and leave their doors open a lot, so I don’t think anyone is trying to pretend they aren’t in their room when theyactually are (as I type this post with my door closed). I’ve tried to do my best to find places that are well lit (preferably with lots of natural light), quiet, and with comfortable seating.I’ve actually found a few places that I really like, and I’ve been able to get my homework done in a reasonable amount of time, or just sit on the computer and relax. I’ve also gone to the Center for Diversity and Enrichment everyday this week.They’re hosting events for Welcome Week in their office and they also have free printing (up to 5 pages a day) and a printer that is much more reliable than the one in my dorm.
You walk A LOT more. Before I came to campus, I made myself cute little notecards with bus schedules on them because I thought I would take the bus a lot. Well, I pretty much wasted my time because I’ve only used the bus to go the CRWC or the west side of campus. Plus there’s an app that tells you the bus routes, stops, and times. PLEASE bring comfortable shoes with you to college. I can’t stress this enough. I’ve already had to change my shoes a few times because I could literally feel the blisters developing on my feet. I’d also like to point out that the walk from any building at the bottom of the hill to the top of the hill is no joke! I’m pretty sure my legs will be super toned by the end of the semester. Right now, it’s been a lot easier for me to walk to class rather than taking the bus, and in some cases walking is faster. It’s been super hot this week, but so far I’ve made it to all my classes alive and not too sweaty.
There are definitely more differences between high school and college, but these are the main ones I’ve discovered as of today. Don’t be scared of college either! It’s a big transition but I’m really enjoying it so far!