There are about a million and one little things to mentally prepare yourself for before college, because it is so drastically different from K-12 mandatory schooling. Ultimately however, college is something to be excited for, as long as you feel ready. Consider these major things to mentally prepare yourself for before college starts if you want the transition to be as smooth as possible.
One of the key things to mentally prepare yourself for before college is diversity. Whether you attend a renowned, international university or small town community college, you can expect lots of diversity. With the numbers of students attending college each year, it’s impossible to have a school without a diverse student population. Get ready to have an open mind when meeting people from different racial, economic, religious, and cultural backgrounds before you set foot on campus!
2. Financial Stress
Financial pressures become very real once you begin college. Student debt becomes a possibility, paying for food and gasoline becomes a hassle, and at the same time going out every weekend becomes a cultural standard! That’s why before you start college you need to mentally prepare yourself for financial stress by budgeting your own money. Create a budget in high school, long before you enter college, and that way you can practice living with a tighter grip on your wallet and learn frugality early on.
In college, you will meet many new people at the start of each semester. College isn’t like high school where you see the same few hundred students every year for four years. Rather, you have to mix and mingle with new students whenever you move dorms, take a General Education class, or go to a party. You may need to brush up on your people-skills before you attend college, just to avoid being awkward when you meet new people.
When students see “independence”, the first thing that comes to mind is often freedom. But independence and freedom are unfortunately not the same thing. While freedom implies a care-free, carpe diem lifestyle, independence means taking responsibility for your own life without anyone holding your hand. To mentally prepare yourself for this cataclysmic shift between high school and college lifestyles, you should begin cooking your own meals, buying your own groceries, and doing your own laundry from time to time.
For many students, college is the first time they’ve had to earn money just to survive. If that’s the boat you’re in, you need to mentally prepare yourself for working in college. Balancing work and school will be no easy task, nor will budgeting your money nor dealing with an employer for the first time. Eventually, you will get the hang of it though, so stay determined and know that you have to work if you want to ever promote from a diet of coffee and ramen to real food!
6. Asking for Help
The good thing about college is that you can still ask for help. The bad thing is you will often feel like you shouldn’t. But trust me, you can always ask for help and advice from loved ones and professors. In many ways, college throws you into the world and forces you to spread your wings and fly, however you should still feel free to ask for help when you need it.
7. Having Fun
Even though there are so many tough things to mentally prepare for before attending college, you should also feel ready and eager to have a lot of fun! Many people consider college the best time of their life, and you should go in hoping for a similar outcome. Let loose, have fun, and enjoy your youth. But still be smart, be safe, and be careful!
Many students fear college simply because of all the newness of it, and mental preparedness it requires. But as long as you feel mentally prepared for most of these things, your college experience should be nothing short of fabulous! What have you had to mentally prepare yourself for before college?