I’ve Been a College Student for One Month. Here’s What No One Tells You:
You might not always be best friends with your roommate. This isn’t to say that they are annoying or you are intolerable to live with, but friendships based solely on profiles on a class Facebook group and texting might not turn out as you planned. My roommate actually left the school within the first few weeks, though my case might be the extreme. Use the opportunity to get out there and make friends on your own!
The school food is never as good as everyone tells you it is. I have already switched to the lowest meal plan I could and added weekly grocery shopping into my budget. Especially if you have specific dietary restrictions like I do, you will be stuck eating the same three things, which you will quickly grow to resent, unless you start to prepare food for yourself.
On that same note, bring a cutting board. I was talking to someone right before I left about how I had overpacked and she was shocked to find out that I had brought a cutting board. At the time, I also thought that it was a little ridiculous but I’ve actually used it on a regular basis. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be eating in your dorm pretty often and you don’t want to be stuck living off Uncrustables and microwave mac and cheese. Dining on a budget can still include fresh produce (and other things that you would need a cutting board for). Bonus points if you get a cute bamboo one like me!
Get ready to be by yourself… a lot. I actually enjoy my alone time and I plan a lot of solo outings like going to my favorite coffee shop to study and SoulCycle classes. But it is the times when you don’t expect to be alone that you really learn to be independent. For example: your phone breaks and you have to take a car to the nearest phone repair place and have to find a smoothie shop to sit in for three hours so that you can do a Zoom class while your phone is being fixed. As you could probably guess, this happened to me a few weeks ago and as stressful as it was – I cried in a Starbucks while texting my mom from my computer – it really showed me how independent I can really be. Many of you might have friends that would go with you, but in these first few weeks I’m not sure how many of the people I had just met would sacrifice their afternoon for me.
I thought I had pretty good time management skills, but I didn’t realize I’d have to balance “adulting” with being a college student. Although in high school I still had to manage homework and studying with doing certain chores and socializing, now it’s preparing food (or just going to get it), cleaning, laundry, meeting new people, maybe even finding or going to a job, and then schoolwork. Not to say that it isn’t rewarding or worth it, it’s just another adjustment that I didn’t know I’d have to make. I’ve started making my to-do lists in order of when I do things, kind of like a timetable, to keep me motivated and on top of it!
You’ll probably think about dropping out or transferring. At this point, I would have hoped that I’d be so in love with my school that I wouldn’t even think about the dream school I didn’t get into or the life I thought I’d have. Actually, I would have hoped I’d like school enough to not make a plan of what I’d do when I dropped out. I can’t promise that I’ll be at this school forever or that I won’t look up how to transfer every once in a while, but I know that transferring might not solve all of my problems and I’d probably regret dropping out. Keeping your options open while also finding places you love where you are will hopefully prevent any rash decisions or future anxiety.
You will have to find ways to adapt! For example: I have found out how to connect my TV provider to Bravo TV’s website so that I can watch the Real Housewives live and I never have to miss an episode. Or you might have to start using a delivery service for your groceries just to make things a little easier for yourself (this is very disappointing to me because I love grocery shopping, but it seems weird to take a Lyft to Publix).
Nothing will be as perfect about the school as you thought it would be. The line for mail might be three hours long, there might be fewer cute guys than you expected, and friends might not be as easy to come by. You may come to the realization that you’re in the major with the most credit hours and will have to take summer classes or that you definitely won’t be at the beach every weekend. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be disappointed, but just because something didn’t live up to your expectations doesn’t make it bad.