I think everyone has some expectations of how their first year of college is going to go. Usually, it’s things like raging parties, new best friends and pulling all-nighters for that big exam the next day. Personally, what I looked forward to the most was making new friends while excelling in my academics. Although this was partially how my experience went, there were a few things that went differently than planned.
First off, I had a hard time feeling proud of the work I was doing. I was constantly comparing myself to the people around me and I always had the lowest score out of the bunch. Somehow I thought that in college I would just magically have the motivation to turn my B’s into A’s. But old habits die hard; I refused to speak to my professors and continued to use old study techniques when I knew they weren’t working. For the first semester, my grades were no different than those I had received in high school.
I also had a really hard time making friends. I wanted so badly to be a part of a group that I drove myself crazy trying to be accepted. My need for “finding my group” prevented me from really connecting with people on a deeper level and resulted in a lot of surface-level relationships that slowly fizzled out as the year went on.
All this being said, I would not change how I spent my first year at college in the slightest. Even though I never really found “my people,” I learned that I would rather have a relationship with one person who truly wants to be my friend than five people who don’t. Once I appreciated this fact, I got much closer with my completely random suitemates and their friendship has become invaluable to me. I stopped obsessing over making my expectations a reality and was able to actually enjoy myself (not to mention, my grades went up too).
So my small piece of advice for all incoming freshmen is to not let your expectations hold you down, especially since college is going to be a lot different than ever before. Don’t waste time trying to achieve some fantasy of what you think college should be like because there’s always going to be something different than what you expected. No matter what your first year at college looks like, only you can choose to make the most of it.