So, recently I was chatting with my younger cousin (who is a Freshman in high school) about college. As we continued to talk about my experiences during my undergraduate years, he said something alarming.
"College doesn't seem that difficult," he says.
After constantly giving him the side-eye, I realized that younger people (or people who haven't experienced University life) may not understand how difficult it can be.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions about college:
1. College is just as easy as high school.
No. College is no walk in the park and after you're in it....you'll realize just that. The same effort that you put in during high school will not help you succeed in college. If you did the bare minimum during high school yet managed to make all A's and B's...don't expect the same to happen during your time in college. During college, you have to work very hard for the grade that you get. It is best to understand that early on!
2. Your professors will help keep you on track.
Nope. Unlike our teachers in high school, college professors do not 'baby' their students. They will not remind you about assignments that you have missed and they won't encourage you to come to class regularly. I know some professors that make you get notes from your classmates instead of them if you miss one lecture! Don't depend on the professors to keep you on track. Keep yourself on track.
3. You will be happy ALL of the time.
Nah. There will be many times when you will feel sad, overwhelmed, stressed, lonely and unsure about your life. Just know that everyone is going through the exact same emotional upheaval as you. Going to college is one of the biggest changes that adolescents have to handle on their own. It would be odd if you didn't feel these feelings at one point in time. It is important for you to set aside personal time to do things that you like to do each day to help take your mind off of your everyday stresses.
4. Your roommates and suitemates will be heaven sent.
Unfortunately, this isn't the case for everybody. Personally, I haven't had any roommate/suitemate nightmares but I have had friends that did. Some people have gotten into actual physical altercations with their roommates and/or suitemates. One of the first nerve-wracking and anxiety filled things about college is finding out that you have to have a roommate. If you're lucky like I was, you'll have a really sweet roommate your Freshman year and then you can room completely by yourself for your remaining college years.
After finding out that you will have a roommate some of your major concerns will probably be: are they clean? will they be organized? are they going to have random people in and out of our room? are they loud? will I be able to tolerate them? Some roommate situations can spark lifelong friendships while other scenarios can be a total nightmare.
5. You'll be completely sure on what you want to major in when you first attend.
For some, this will be true. However, there are a handful of other people who have declared a major when they first got to college and after being in it they realized it wasn't for them and they ended up changing it. It is okay to change your major as many times as you need to, to figure out what's right for you (the more you change, the longer you'll be there so if you can decide without switching a lot...do so). Remember, you are the one paying for your education...so make sure that you are doing what you want to do and not what someone else wants you to do.
6. You have to purchase your textbooks from the school only.
Universities will charge you an arm and a leg for textbooks that you can receive for half the price on Amazon, Chegg, and other textbook distributing sites. Always price compare when you are going to buy books because it can keep a lot of money in your pocket chile!
7. You will make lifelong friends.
Once again, for some people, this will be true. However, it doesn't happen for everyone. You may even lose touch with the friends that you had during high school. College may be the best time of your life but what I've noticed is that during my years in college, I realized that it was a time for some serious self-discovery. As you work towards finding yourself, you may end up losing some people...and that is okay.
8. You can't party and still maintain good grades.
This is so false. I enjoyed my years in college and I enjoyed going out to parties and bars. I maintained a very high GPA during my entire college years because I knew how to balance things. For example, if I had homework due on Saturday at midnight and there was a lit party happening that same night...I would complete all of my homework and submit it by Saturday evening. You have to find what works for you. If you're the type of person who can't participate in Thirsty Thursday's because you won't get up for class on Friday's...simply don't participate. Only go to weekend parties. Find what works for you and stick to it. Also, don't be afraid to tell people that you can't go out because you have to study. They'll understand.
9. You won't need help from your advisor.
You will definitely need a lot of help from your advisor. I realized that making my course schedule with my advisor was easier than making it on my own. They'll be able to tell you the courses that you need to take for your major in order to graduate as well as give you a quick rundown of the course and the professor teaching it. Advisors are also there to help you figure out what path you want to go down if you are unsure of what you want to major in. They are there to help you, so why not utilize their services?
10. You will have immediate job offers once you graduate.
Jobs will not go looking for you. It is your responsibility to apply for jobs before or after graduation. Be sure to utilize your resources on campus (e.g. resume help, job fairs, etc). Also, make an effort to network while you are there.
10.1 College can be either the best years of your life...or the worst. It is really what you make it.
Telor's tips for being successful during college include:
Stay focused and work hard on classwork.
Go to class as much as you can.
Make friends in your classes. One's that don't mind letting you copy their notes if you miss a day...that will sign your name on the attendance sheet when you're not there...and that will study for exams with you.
Ask for help whenever you need it (from professors, students, faculty, etc).
Take advantage of the resources provided on campus (advisor, tutors, etc).
Research what major you're interested in and the jobs that will be available for that major.
Meet potential friends in the cafe and at campus events.
Avoid 8 am classes (they are the devil).
Join clubs and organizations on campus.
Prioritize your classwork and social life.
Attend as many job fairs as you can.
Have movie nights, game nights, and wind down time for you and your friends to enjoy.
Ask family members for Wal-Mart gift cards.