Why You Shouldn't Treat College Like It's High School

If you are like me, you spent your high school years not joining any clubs or groups and spending all of your time hanging out with friends. These friends are most likely the same friends you've had since elementary school. You don't see a need to join any clubs, just going to class and going home. Then you graduate high school and you expect everything to stay the same when it won't. Everything changes, and you feel fully unprepared. You might try and treat college like it was high school, doing the same things you would do in high school, but I am here to tell you why you shouldn't.

When I graduated high school, I had no idea what college was going to be like. I knew that all of my friends were going to different colleges across the country, essentially leaving me alone. I was afraid that I wouldn't make any friends and if I did they would be nothing like my old friends who I loved so much. I was truly lazy in high school and therefore wasn't a super over-achieving student. I didn't understand how my grades would effect my entire life, so I treated high school like a big party. My entire four years of high school, I never studied. Not even once. I went into exams with the attitude of "whatever happens happens," and I really didn't care. 

Fast-forward to my first year of college. I was truly depressed the entire year because I missed my old friends so much. I saw a therapist every week and spent my weekends in bed, not bothering to go out and make friends. I had the attitude that none of the people I meet would be as good as my old friends who were now living miles away from me. I felt lost. The best decision I made was going to my school's club fair. For some reason, something snapped at me that I had to get involved. Keep in mind I never joined anything in high school, so it was odd for me to feel the need to become more involved. However, I knew I wanted to become a lawyer and to do so I needed to start making connections. I joined the Pre-Law Student Society (which I am now the president of), Students for Choice, and the Bennion Center. I felt motivated for the first time of my life, partly because there were so many options, and because I was in a completely new environment. I knew that I now had to opportunity to be a part of something that I was passionate about, so I jumped on it. I also joined a sorority to make friends, so I truly tried everything.

Now, I completely understand that not everyone will have the burst of motivation that I did. I recognize how rare that is, and how that is completely based on who I was as a person. I have seen my friends go to college and not get motivated at all. Because of this, they don't join any clubs or organizations, just going to class and going home. They aren't gaining anything from their college experience, despite the thousands of dollars they pay for it. I have this attitude that I am spending a ton of money towards my college, so I might as well take advantage of it. I joined everything I was passionate about, and I promise you there is something out there for you. Even if you join one thing, you will be better off for it. To just attend classes and nothing else can make a person depressed, and unmotivated. Joining things you love will not only motivate you, and it will introduce you to people who have similar interests to you. These clubs can also act like a break from studies and can be a source of fun. 

In addition to presenting a stronger need to become involved, there are other differences between college and high school. Studying is completely different, and homework is harder. The good part about college, though, is the fact that you have a large selection of classes to take. Instead of high school, which had core classes, college has many classes that will appeal to you. If you take classes that you like, you will be happier studying and doing homework for it, instead of doing that for classes you hate. College is much better than high school just because of the amount of options and resources they provide to students. There are women centers, ethnic student centers, and more. This is great because especially at a big college, it is easy to feel alone. These centers are there to be a source of support for students. This wasn't there in high schools, so students should absolutely take advantage of that.

Another difference between college and high school is that you will most likely lose some high school friends. Especially if you are moving states. It's just natural. People drift apart, and it's up to you to accept that. That might keep you from trying to make new friends in college, but you shouldn't. There are a lot of ways to meet new people in college, and since there are so many more people, it is likely you will meet someone similar to you. Don't let yourself stay attached to the past, instead adapt and get out there. I've met so many great people in college and I am so happy I have had the opportunity to do so. I've met people in my classes, my clubs, my sororities, and more. There is always someone wanting a new friend.

In the end, it may be easy to just revert to the attitudes and hobbies you had in high school, but you should do what you can to stop that. Meet new people, join clubs, go to games, be involved! This is a short period of your life, don't waste it. I promise you it won't be as bad as you think.


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