The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Since I could remember people always talked to me about college. Whether they were describing their experiences, telling me about their favorite college football team, or pressuring me to go to the school they graduated from, college has always been a large topic. I mean on top of the constant reminders from friends, mentors, and my parents I was surrounded by different types of media portraying college life. I had so many expectations for what college life would be like and now that I’ve started its time to ask: Has the experience matched my expectations?
Just for context, I wasn’t expecting college to be anything like I had seen in the movies. I mean I didn’t have high expectations but they were definitely realistic. I knew I would be surrounded by new people and new ideas. What I didn’t expect was flashbacks from when I was socially awkward; the phase I’m sure we all remember whether we want to or not. One of the first things I got a taste for was the social aspect of college. One of the advantages I had as an on campus student was being able to attend a variety of events with ease. Sure it was a great way to meet new people, but the awkward tension of not knowing how to start a conversation is unbearable. However, the more you get to know people the easier it is to socialize. One thing no one tells you though is friend groups aren’t as easy as they were before. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to find a great group of friends and have regular hang out sessions and chat, but I know that isn’t the case for everyone. Despite having great conversations sometimes its hard to hang out regularly because everyone has their own schedule.
That’s another thing I hear used to hear all the time too, “Everyone is on a different pace during college.” That has been the expectation that had a completely different reality when I started college. Although this is my first year at my college, I have enough credits to classify as a junior. Being around friends that did dual credit like myself, it’s a relief that I have a group of people that understand the feeling of being a eighteen year old in a class with twenty year old’s. However, I have experienced the opposite multiple times. While some of my friends are the same major, one of the things they talk about that makes me feel like the odd one out is taking pre-requisites. No hate to anyone, wherever they may be in the college process, but it felt strange not being able to relate to the conversation. In all honesty I think I expected more of a community but in reality I am on my own, and after a couple of month of college I am starting to get more comfortable with the idea of independence.
Although I have my support system like my family, college really showed me what it’s like to be independent. I still remember the words of advice my tia gave me the week before I started college. “You’re on your own now, It’s time to look out for yourself and we can’t help you.” Yes she did say that, and, although I may not have appreciated it at first, it was the crashing reality check I needed. Her words held a truth to them because they’re completely true. I need to look out for myself, no teachers are going to remind me to turn in late assignments and my mom won’t clean my dorm or do my laundry. The responsibilities of adulthood aren’t that far away and now is the time to learn lessons inside and outside the classroom.
In reality, nothing is ever like what we expect it to be. I mean I kind of expected college to be Monsters University, which is obliviously unrealistic, but the point is I expected to find my group, excel in classes, and have those moments that make life feel like a movie. Thinking about the question now: is college up to my expectations? No, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not only am I experiencing something new and learning valuable lessons like independence, networking, and just how to make friends but it’s all unexpected. Sometimes the unexpected is a pleasant surprise.