Hey there! I’m going to take a little twist and start this blog post off differently. I want you to take a second and clear your mind. Now think: What’s the first thing that pops into mind when you think about college?
I’m assuming that most of you thought about going to parties, meeting new people, and living in a new city. I too had the same thoughts prior to arriving at Iowa. Before moving here, I thought I knew everything there was to know about college. I thought that I was as prepared as could be. Little did I know…
Although college has been everything that I expected and more, there is still so much that I was oblivious about. Having this type of attitude caused me to close out people who were trying to help me adjust, and I regret that! Looking back, I should’ve accepted their help (especially my parents) in the process of adjusting and settling in. A lot of things would’ve gone smoother if I would’ve had an open mind. So if you doze off for the rest of this blog, at least keep this piece of advice with you: College isn’t like what they portray in movies. There’s a lot more involved than just the fun stuff that most people see. Keep an open mind about everything and always be willing to accept help! It’s okay to need others.
So here’s a few things I was wrong about. . . and trust me these are just a few.
Expectation: My roommate and I will be the best of friends, never leaving each other’s side.
Reality: My roommate and I are close, but we do our own thing.
- I met my roommate through the Class of 2021 Facebook page because honestly, I’m the type of person who would worry too much if I left it up to fate. We talked for a few weeks before deciding to make it official, but right off the bat I think we both knew we would end up together. It was a quick friendship, we bonded and realized we were so similar yet different so we wouldn’t clash too much. When we first moved here, we would spend all day together just because it was what we were comfortable with. We already knew each other and it was a lot less intimidating to meet new people when you already had someone you knew by your side. However, that didn’t last too long. We have different majors, so our schedules look different. I noticed that we were spending more time with people that have similar majors since the schedules lined up that way. Then, after joining different sororities and finally getting a hang of our routines, we see each other a lot less then at the b
eginning of the year. Now, I see her maybe once or twice a day but we still snapchat all day long. At night is usually when I see her if neither of us are having a late night at the library, so we always catch up and vent to each other about everything! I still love her, trust her, and care for her. We have a strong connection and I consider her a close friend. Even though we aren’t together as much as I thought we’d be, we still manage to keep the close bond and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. (I love you Emma!)
Expectation: College classes are going to be as hard as the professors make them.
Reality: College classes are as hard as I make them.
- On average, a full-time student here takes 15-16 semester hours. Some go a little over and some go a little under. I’m exactly in the middle, taking 16. I thought since I was taking the “average” load of a freshman I would be fine, but I found that it’s pretty stressful on me. I try managing my time as best as I can, but I always find myself staying up late and finishing things up. The material in classes isn’t meant to be hard, but I still struggle a bit since I always have something to do. I rarely have free time to just sit back and relax. I made the mistake of taking “a day off” around the third week here, and it got me in a really bad position. I fell behind and it was SO hard to catch up (keep in mind that this was ONE day off). I had to go out of my way and go into some of my TA’s office hours, request extra worksheets, and even ask a friend to run over some practice problems with me. Ever since that off day, I learned my lesson. Even if it’s just a day, your classes’ workload do add up!
Expectation: I’m never going to miss home.
Reality: I miss home… a lot.
- I was always ready to leave home and start my own life and make my own rules. I even “warned” my parents to not expect many calls from me because I’d be too busy with everything that I was planning to get involved with. Oops. I seriously call my parents at least once a day and text them constantly. At times I even call them crying because I just feel overwhelmed with how much I have to juggle without having that “home comfort”. I actually wanted to visit home this weekend but my parents think it’s best to wait until Thanksgiving. They want me to get that college experience I was always so desperate about. At times I get in this funk where I regret not choosing a college near home but then I snap out of it and realize that coming to Iowa was the right choice for me. It’s taught me a lot about who I am as an individual. I thought I knew myself pretty well, but coming here has opened my eyes to so much.
Expectation: I’m going to be with the girls in my sorority 24/7.
Reality: I’m with the girls in my sorority maybe three times a week.
- Prior to joining a sorority, I made a lot of really good friends my first few weeks here. I was able to build friendships and form connections fairly quickly. After joining a sorority, I knew I didn’t want to forget the prior friendships I’ve already made. Instead, I’ve found a happy balance of spending time with the girls in my sorority and the friends in my classes. I always have someone I can text to study, hang out, or even just chat for a few minutes. I’m hoping to build even stronger friendships with the girls in my sorority after we’re all officially initiated. I get to eat at the Zouse (nickname for Zeta Tau Alpha house) a few times a week, so I’ve decided to head there whenever I have free time to start building those close connections! I thought I would be obsessed with the sorority I joined, but I realized quickly that it’s healthy to have various groups of friends and always keep your mind open to meeting new people. I still love all the girls at Zeta and am SO happy that everyone is involved with so many different things. At times it opens new doors for me too! A girl from Zeta recently asked a few of us if we wanted to join an intramural volleyball team, and I agreed! I’ve found a good balance and hope to keep it that way.
Expectation: I’m going to beat the “you fail your first test” idea.
Reality: Even after studying a lot, I still didn’t do so hot.
- I had my first big college exam about four weeks ago. It was really different than an exam in high school due to a lot of things. To begin with, the test started at 8:30 pm and we had an hour and a half to complete it. So if a student used the whole 90 minutes, they wouldn’t walk out of the building until 10 pm. Another weird thing about this was that everyone got assigned a testing center depending on one’s last name. I was in the Pappajohn Business Building which was really nice, but it was kind of far from home. Prior to this test, I took two online tests, spent approximately two hours per night at the library studying, and even attended study sessions. I thought I was prepared but as soon as I sat down and began taking it I felt overwhelmed. A lot of the material on the test wasn’t anything like I studied for, so that really threw me off. I’ll admit it – I did bad. I relied too heavily on the practice exams and study guides that I didn’t take it past those two materials so a lot of information that I needed was left out. It made me realize that although the professors do provide good study materials, there is a lot left out that you have to incorporate on your own. It’s not like high school – not everything you have to know will be given directly to you.
Every adult told me that college was going to be the best four years of my life. I still don’t know if I fully agree with this, but I’ve only been here for a little less than two months with a lot left to learn. I’m now going through this journey with an open mind and clear heart – and I encourage everyone to do so too!