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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

Many of us go into college with lofty expectations about how things are going to play out, but the truth of the matter is that many of these things may not end up coming to fruition as we would hope. Before arriving at college, I spent lots of time idealizing my life here, looking forward to things like growing closer with my online friends and loving my major. I had high hopes for how things would play out. However, I anticipated the positive effects from things before even having a chance to experience and gauge them in person, unintentionally setting myself up for disappointment. As it turned out, many of the expectations I set for myself didn’t manifest at all like I’d expected. This wasn’t all negative, as I’m happier with where I ultimately ended up, but I failed to realize how hard it would be to live up to the unrealistic expectations I’d set up for myself coming into college.

This is something that many of us go through, as college is an exciting new stage of life that we wind up idealizing while still in high school. While it’s a great thing to look forward to, it’s vital that we manage our expectations going in. The truth of the matter is, college is meant to be dynamic. As a result, change can happen unexpectedly upon arriving and can easily come as a shock. Many of the things you started out idealizing may not end up being what you thought they would. It’s impossible to know what living in this setting for the first time will be like until you experience it for yourself. Being thrown into the college environment changes your life in so many ways you wouldn’t expect going in. You’re forced to navigate the world on your own, figuring out your perspectives and values on life without relying on the presence of those you grew up with to guide you. You grow and change so much being on your own for the first time, and with this comes the truth that everything might not fall into place the way you envisioned it would.

Life in college can still be amazing, but oftentimes in different ways than initially expected. Not everything is going to go as planned. Not every class will be something you end up enjoying and not every friendship will pan out as you may have hoped, but ultimately you’ll be better for it. These are things you have to live through to learn from, even if they may initially upset you. You have to move forward from it and understand that maybe the way things turned out to be is better after all.