College Expectations vs Reality

When I moved into my dorm, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what the next four years of my life were going to look like. I was fully prepared for whatever college would throw my way. I heard all the advice from relatives, teachers and older friends who had gone to college. I watched tons of YouTube videos about other peoples’ college experiences. I was so ready.

Or so I thought.

A lot of my expectations didn’t turn out to be super accurate. Sometimes things don’t always turn out the way we expect them to go, but that doesn’t make things better or worse necessarily - just different from what we initially expected.

Expectation 1: You will make your best friends for the next four years during Welcome Week.

Reality: No, I did not actually make my best friends for the next four years during Welcome Week. As a matter of fact, most of the people I met during Welcome Week aren’t even in my life, like, at all. I’m fine with it now, but at the time, I was super disappointed that one of the girls I met during Welcome Week never added me back on Snapchat. 


Expectation 2: If you didn’t have to try very hard to do well in high school, college will be a rude awakening.

Reality: I’m only a first-semester freshman, but there’s only one class I’m taking that I have to study a lot in order to do decent on the tests. Everyone has different learning styles, though, which could be a contributing factor in their success in the classroom. I’m not saying college is a breeze for everyone, by all means. It just may not end up being as hard as teachers in high school made it seem.

Expectation 3: You will need to spend hours upon hours studying.

Reality: You might spend 2-3 hours a day studying or doing homework for all of your classes, but I don’t think you need to devote two hours a day to each class, which is something I was told I would need to do. That would be 8+ hours for a full-time student! If you have a huge final coming up, that’s one thing, but if it’s just for a regular test, I think it’s a little extreme.


Expectation 4: Dining hall food is terrible and you’ll miss home-cooked meals.

Reality: I do miss home-cooked meals, but I think the dining halls have pretty decent food for the most part. Most of the time, I would actually prefer to eat in a dining hall than wait in line at Chick-fil-a for 20 minutes only to find out that they’re out of Chick-fil-a Sauce.

Expectation 5: You’ll find your “people” in college and your college friends will be a lot better than high school friends.

Reality: I’ve met some pretty cool people so far during my time at WVU, and I’m super glad I met them and hope we stay friends after this semester. However, I can’t say that the friends I’ve made here are “better” than my high school friends. They are different kinds of friendships and both are good. My high school friends have been in my life for a very long time; we grew up together, so we’ll always have that bond of being from the same hometown. I personally can’t even compare my college friends to my high school friends, and I don’t think anyone else should either. 


Expectation 6: College will be the most fun experience of your life.

Reality: It could be for some people. I’m not super outgoing, and I would probably prefer to spend a night in my dorm watching Netflix or just hanging out instead of going to a frat party. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for me to enjoy my time in college, it just may not be the most “fun” time by some people’s standards. I’ve spent a lot of time being bored, stressed, and even a little lonely. I think it is important to remember that you don’t have to be a social butterfly or a party animal to enjoy your time in college. Everyone has a different idea of what is fun for them, and college is a great time to do your own thing. You’ll enjoy it a lot more if you do what makes you happy, even if some people may not like to do the same things you do. And you don’t have to enjoy every day. The sole reason you are even here in the first place is to get an education. It may not be the most fun experience ever, but there are definitely ways to make it enjoyable and have a good experience. 



Edited by Sydney Keener