Congratulations, grads! It felt like forever, but you finally graduated high school! Now it's ready to say good-bye to summer because with college just around the corner, there is so much more in store for you. Your first year of college will be nothing like you have ever experienced before, unless of course you are staying close to home. They say your college experience will be the best time of your life, but in all honesty, that can never be guaranteed. So to ensure that your transition to college is smoother than butter, here are some things you should expect from your freshman year.
1. You Won’t Realize Your True Friends until Closer to the End of the Year
During orientation week and the first few months of college, everyone, and I mean everyone, will be extremely nice. Just like you, people will try to make friends and give out good first impressions, so you won’t actually get to see who those people are and whether you truly click with them until much later. And that goes for your old friends too; college puts distance even between best friends. However, it is interesting to see which friendships can withstand distance and everything that comes along with it. So get ready to put all of your friendships through a filter!
2. Money is a Big Issue
Go to any college campus and you will likely notice that a regular Caesar salad is probably twice the cost of what it should be. And that’s with everything in college! Food, notebooks, shampoo and even medicine are overpriced and don’t even get me started on textbooks! As if tuition is not expensive enough, there are numerous everyday expenses that add up to a seriously large number. Therefore, being smart with your money is essential. If you can, start saving up during the summer and get a part time job on campus. This will not only give you access to more money to support yourself but also give you new experience and connections on campus.
3. Time Management Can Be a Problem
Going away for college and dorming are fun, maybe even too much fun. Once you get a taste of the newly found freedom it’s hard to find a limit. After all, there are parties being thrown even on weekdays, there are fun events happening all over campus and your friends live in a building next door or even down the hall, so it’s impossible not to ditch your homework for friends. The key is finding balance between everything that is going on. Schedule your day by prioritizing and leave a few hours out to de-stress with new friends!
4. Take Advantage of What Your College Has to Offer
Looking back at my first year of college, one thing that I do regret is not taking advantages of all of the opportunities that were offered to me. Like not going to a dance show everyone was buzzing about, or not witnessing that debate about science versus religion. Not matter how small the opportunity is, just say ‘yes’ to it! It may turn out to be bad and even a little bit useless, but it can also turn into something good, and you’ll be glad you experienced it. Join clubs, teams or causes that you are passionate about!
5. You’ll Never Get 8 Hours of Sleep Again
You know how in high school you wanted to stay up all night, but your parents made sure you were in bed at a reasonable time? Yeah, you’ll be wishing that was the case when you are in college. Getting eight hours of sleep each night will literary not be possible and coffee will become your best friend. Take it from someone who used to hate coffee but drank it every day of the last semester. Fun fact: you’ll be seeing a lot of passed out bodies everywhere on campus.
6. Learning Self-discipline is a Must
Whether it’s in terms of academics, healthy eating or time management, self-discipline is a must. You must learn how to give structure to your day, make the right choices for yourself and stay on track in school. Skipping class is way too easy, there is nobody to take attendance and professors won’t even realize that you are not present during their lecture. In fact, they won’t even care because the only thing you’ll be doing is harming your own chances of getting a good grade.
7. Stay Competitive
You’ll meet a lot of people in college, and you might notice that many of them are just as ambitious and determined as you are. Even if you are used to being a top student, you’ll be exposed to people who are trying just as much as you are, maybe even more, and who have better qualifications. So don’t fall behind and do be competitive - that’s why you are there, after all. Set up your future so you have nothing to worry about in the long run.
You are about to start a new chapter in your life and as much as it is exciting, it is also scary. This is a test at how well you can adapt to new people, new environments and new daily routines! But if you keep these things in mind and prepare in advance, you shouldn’t have a problem adjusting to your new life. Good luck!