The Truth About College, As Told By a BU Senior

You usually to turn to HerCampus.com for your fun, fashion news about looking chic on campus or about that cool girl with her own business that you sit next to in class. But, right now it’s about to get real— and maybe a little corny (sorry, not sorry). 

As a soon-to-be graduating senior, I reflected on all of the success and triumphs of college on a recent Friday night. While a friend of mine talked about her graduate school applications and career trajectory, I told her my plans, which are moving home in May (a thought that never crossed my mind three short years ago) and applying for jobs. We spoke of my impending commute from suburbia to center city. We complained about all of the debt and bills that we’d soon need to pay off. We both agreed that graduation could not come fast enough.  

How could it be that the “best four years of our lives” were suddenly being wished away? Was it normal for us to feel this way? That’s when I got to thinking: nobody tells you the truth about college.  

We all come to college with Hollywood movie ideals. We envision that weekend nights will be spent at frat parties, while weekday afternoons will be spent throwing a football and sunbathing on the quad. Sunday afternoons will consist of hanging out in the dining hall rehashing Saturday night’s activities, and that hot guy in class, who kind of looks like a Calvin Klein model, will ask you out. Some of it's true. Some of these things will, occasionally, happen.  

By the time the freshman class returns to their hometowns for winter break, they will be acclimated and happy in their new college surroundings. They will have made a solid group of friends and know that waiting in line at T. Anthony’s on a Friday night is totally worth it. Taking the Green Line will become second nature, knowing the right stations in the dining hall, and all the “spare time” they have during the day will become known as nap-time.  

When younger high school acquaintances and friends' little siblings ask how you like college, you’ll tell them how awesome it is. I mean, who doesn’t love not having a curfew and eating mozzarella sticks at all hours of the night? But what you don’t tell them is that the first month of college sucks. That’s right, I said it.  

Those first four weeks are nothing but awkward. You cling to that one kid who went to your high school that you weren’t even friends with. You try talking to people at that meeting you happened to go once upon time .At mealtime, it is a terrible guessing game of whom you will uncomfortably ask to sit with. Your parents call to check in on you four times a day because they can tell you’re miserable. You frequently wonder if it’s too late to get a refund on tuition and move back home, where home-cooked meals and washing machines that don’t smell like a wet dog are plentiful. This is normal.  

The problem is: nobody ever talks about it. When those big, bad college kids come home talking about their awesome sorority and their super cute TA, and all the fun clubs they are in, no one mentions that first month. It’s like it never even happened.  

As I approach graduation, slowly but surely, I feel the same secret college experience is taking place. Every college graduate will tell you how much he or she misses the freedom and “luxuries” of college. They’ll tell you that the real world is an awful place and that life goes downhill after graduation. They make you promise to not wish away those precious last few months of adolescence (and mom and dad’s financial support).  

Not one of them will likely to tell you that they were also counting down the days to graduation. Searching for a “real person” job made them feel sick to their stomach but also excited at the same time. The people who get jobs early in the semester will tell you not to worry. You’ll find a job no problem. But, that’s easy to say in retrospect.  

It’s just another college experience that we tend to gloss over and skip ahead. A hidden truth that will only be discovered when you’ve reached a certain point in your college career. You’ll think you’re the only one. Until one day, you’ll be drinking margaritas at Sunset Cantina, when someone finally admits that they’re so over college. Everyone will feel slightly guilty, and relieved, that they feel the same way too.  

There are so many common misconceptions when you finally sign your life away— I mean those student loans— fresh out of high school. Those seniors don’t know what they’re in for.  

So, promise me that when you return home this winter break that you’ll tell family and friends what college is really about. Tell them about the best parties you’ve ever been to, how you frequently walk the same streets as Paul Revere, and how you don’t always have to do all the class reading to get a good grade; but also tell them the other truths about college. Tell them that, yeah, the first month of college sucks. You will cry. You will miss your best friends from home. You’ll spend more than one night going through old Facebook albums from high school, or of your dog. You may or may not gain the Freshman 15. But eventually, you will love it. You will meet some of the absolute best people in your life. You will finally study things you actually care about, and you will, someday probably very soon, miss college when it’s over.