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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

College is different than I expected. I felt the same about high school. I would watch movies and shows that follow a main group of friends who are inseparable. These friend groups go everywhere, do everything, are rebellious, and surprisingly, are never doing actual school work. I always thought that college was just partying. College was just meant for spending money, walking around aimlessly, and attending parties. This scared me as I was and still am not a party person. I enjoy an occasional party here and there, don’t get me wrong, but I could not do the weekend benders weekend after weekend. This made me afraid for life in college. I have completed two years of college thus far and let me tell you, I had extreme expectations that were just not true to my experience at college. 

Expectations vs Reality

I expected to during my first week of college to instantly have best friends. I am not quite sure where I got this idea from, but that is not how friendships are made. In highschool you have an established group of friends that you probably made in elementary or middle school. Finding friends during that time of life is easier as you know everyone, where they are from, and most students take all the same classes. That was way different when I got to West Chester University. I wasn’t sure what classes they were taking, what their majors were, where they were from, hobbies, etc. I was really lost. It didn’t help that I was new to Pennsylvania and attended a school where the majority of students were Pennsylvania natives. 

I also expected college to be all about parties. While a lot of students may enjoy and attend parties, that is only a small part of what college is. College is for exploring and figuring out who you are. So parties really only make up a small percentage of what college is. I don’t really even attend college parties, I prefer spending time with my best friends and bonding with them. 

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Before I came to college, I was frightened about the workload and all of the classes I would have to take. Let me tell you right now, college is not everything everyone makes it out to be. You get to choose what courses you take and which ones you don’t. While every major is different and requires different classes, you still have a decision each semester of what you want to take and what interests you. This was much different from my high school experience, as people who I didn’t know chose every class and level I took. 

Lastly, people state that college gives you a lot of freedom. That is 100% true. Not only do you get thrown into freedom, but you get to decide who you hang out with, who you want to be, the effort you put into your school work, and much more. College is really a time to discover yourself. While all of that sounds crazy, you still get to make a routine in which there is stability in your day to day. You are not lost and you are not alone. Everyone at college is there for one reason or another. It is just for you to decide why you are there and what you want to get out of it. 


One piece of advice that I would give to anyone interested in college is to think about where you want to be in life. What career are you interested in pursuing? What journey do you want to embark on? Who are the people that would support you best? While college is for fun and friendships, it is also for a future and learning. College is what you make it out to be and I advise those in college to not waste the time away. It goes by quickly, which I am realizing now as my second year of college is concluding. Enjoy your college years as they go by quickly, don’t give your energy to people who don’t support you, and most importantly this is your time, don’t waste it. 

Shannon Byrnes

West Chester '26

Hi, my name is Shannon Byrnes, and a writer for Her Campus at West Chester University. I am a Communication major with a minor in Professional and Technical Writing. I am currently a junior at West Chester University and love house plants and going on nature walks. In my free time I sing, play music, and listen to music as well as journaling and writing. I also love to grab an iced coffee, thrift, and explore with my friends!