I’m sure you can tell from the title of this article that this is a list of things I wish I knew before I started college. Hopefully me sharing these personal experiences helps you in some way or you find them useful. I know not everyone may agree with these things, or you may have already known some of these, and if that’s the case, I’m sorry. There are tons of articles and videos similar to this one that you may find more useful and I hope you find one that suits you. With that said, here is a list of things I’ve learned through my experience as a college senior that I wish I might have known of before.
With that said, here is a list of things I’ve learned through my experience as a college senior that I wish I might have known of before.
1. You may not find a group of friends right away
I know in my first semester, I was a loner. Sometimes a person in my class would invite me out to do something and I’d go out with them, but for the majority of the time I was in my room working or binge watching YouTube videos. It wasn’t until near the end of my first semester as a freshman that a guy friend of mine invited me out and introduced me to a friend group of his. Through these experiences I gained a friend group.
If you want to find your set friend group before the end of first semester, don’t be like me and get out there. If someone invites you out to do something, go ahead and do it, but also, invite people to do things with you. Ask people if you could sit with them for lunch in the dining hall or, instead of staying in your room binge watching The Vampire Diaries, go watch it at your college’s cafe, library or dorm lounge. Who knows? Maybe someone will catch you watching it and start a conversation with you. Just don’t be a hermit like I was!
2. Friend groups change, and it’s OK.
For me personally, I barely talk to anyone from my hometown or my high school friends. There are a few people that I talk to occasionally, but the friend group that I once had in high school has basically diminished, and to be honest, I’ve never been happier.
I gained a friend group during my freshman year that are my people. I love and cherish them all for sure, but getting into sophomore year, the dynamics of the group has changed. Two of my friends live farther away from the rest of us and three of them are RAs, and although it may not seem ideal, it’s totally A-OK. I’ve just learned that I have to divide my time and that we may not all be together as a group as much as we used to, but they’re all still my friends and that is all that matters.
Friend groups change and so do group dynamics, but you have to learn that college is so much different from high school and growth and change is perfectly acceptable.
3. Say goodbye to personal space.
This is especially true for people who share rooms with other other people. Luckily, I’m currently in an apartment with three other girls and I have my own bedroom, but during my first two years of college I shared a dorm room with another girl. We’re great friends and still living together today, but it was definitely a transition I had to go through. Before I could lock myself in my room and be disturbed by no one, I had to compromise and understand that the space I slept in was no longer just mine. You’ll need to get used to it though, and as long as you and your roomie are on the same page with things, you’ll be fine!
I cannot say the same for communal bathrooms, kitchens and lounges, though. As you’ll soon find out, college students are messy! Other people in your dorm most likely do not have the same sense of cleanliness standards as you. This will be another thing you have to get used to. But, if you wanna help out, make sure you clean up after yourself! At least then you know you’re doing your part to make your living space clean, even if others are not.
Case in point, forget about alone time!
4. You may not get the best of grades at first.
Luckily for me, my grades freshman year were a breeze, but for my second and third year in college I had to deal with not getting the best of grades for once. Some professors are harder with grading than others. As long as you try your best, though, you should be fine. Sometimes just trying your best is all you can do! Don’t stress too much and try to relax when it comes to grades. Saving time for studying and homework is something you will most definitely have to work on, as sometimes social life can get in the way.
5. Drama still happens.
I’m a senior and I still deal with drama! I’m sorry to say that for most people, drama doesn’t stay in high school. If drama does stay in high school for you, you’re extremely lucky! Unfortunately there will always be assholes in life and sometimes you’re just going to have to deal with them. People still like to make drama in college and of course it will be frustrating, but for some people, it’s all that they have! Try to stay out of it if you can, because you’re better than whatever hate or drama people will want to pull you into. The best you can do is communicate and speak your truth.
6. The plague is alive and well.
Considering everyone in college are living in close quarters (for the most part, at least), sickness spreads rapidly! Try to eat healthy, workout when you can and take vitamins if needed. I know this year for me specifically, it seems like the plague is back. All of my close friends have been sick at some point this year already and so have I! If you feel like you’re getting sick, try to take some Emergen-C or something, which always work for me. Good luck with the college plague, gals!
7. Textbooks are not always needed.
This one is kind of annoying, but it’s true! I suggest you don’t buy your textbooks at the beginning of the semester, as you may find out later that you might not use it at all. Try to wait until your professor says you need it for something specifically, and then get it. When you do buy textbooks, try to get them online somewhere. Campus bookstores usually rake up the prices on textbooks, so make sure to go online and compare prices to see what works for you.
If there are any professors reading this, if you tell students to get a textbook when you don’t ever refer to it in class and they don’t use it….you’re an asshole!
8. Freshman 15 is real!
Many people go into college and think that they can easily maintain the weight that they are at and nothing will change. I’m not saying that everyone will gain weight in college, but if you do, don’t worry too much about it! It’s a normal thing as eating habits most definitely change in college. I actually know some people who lose weight when they go to college, mostly because they only go to the dining hall when hungry, or they don’t like the dining hall food at all.
Don’t graze around the dining hall though and try to limit yourself to one plate. People at St. Bonaventure “Hickey bum,” which means just chilling at the dining hall, procrastinating and eating more food than they would usually. Try not to do this if you’re really worried about weight, but if you do, it’s OK! Everything is a part of the college experience.
9. Personal hygiene may become an afterthought.
OK, this may sound really gross, but there will most likely be times in college when you think to yourself, “When was the last time I took a shower?” Some people are on their A-game when it comes to personal hygiene, and good for them, but I know for a fact that people’s standards on personal hygiene most definitely change when in college. Especially during midterms and finals, we get busy and our personal hygiene may become an afterthought. Dry shampoo and body spray may become your best friend. Try to set up a routine for yourself, though, similar to when you were in high school. Class times may be awkward, but when you get into the flow of things at college, it will come naturally. Don’t feel too bad, though, it happens to everyone at some point.
10. Enjoy college and discover yourself.
This may sound like a cliche, but it’s the truth. College is the time to discover yourself, but also make new friends and enjoy the time you’re still in school. You may go into college, dead set on a dream, just to find out that the dream no longer appeals to you. This is OK. College is just a test run, and screw ups, failures and confusion come with the territory. Remember just to have fun and don’t get too worked up if things don’t go as planned. You got this!
Article by Amber Canbek