When I started college, I thought I knew exactly what to expect. The reality of the situation was very far removed from my pre-conceived ideas and because I was the eldest in my family and neither of my parents had a clue about college, I was more than a little confused when I got there. That by the way, isn't to say that it was in any way a let down. Far from it in fact, but just don't go in expecting keg stands and dorm room romps, when half of the time it'll be more along the lines of Pot Noodles and puke on the floor. Here's what nobody tells you about college;
1) Signing Up For Classes Is Utterly Confusing
Foolishly I thought that getting your class timetable would be similar to school, in that we'd just be handed it and trot on our merry way. In reality, it meant hours of having cold sweats over a site that kept crashing, trying to figure out the difference between minors, majors, seminars and tutorials and multiple swearing incidents. It does get easier though, promise.
2) Your Lecturers Are Not Like Your Teachers
In many ways, but namely because they aren't personally invested in you (unless you're in a tiny course) and won't be chasing you for overdue assignments. In fact, you're the one who'll be doing the chasing, emailing and panicking. At the end of the day, your learning is now in your hands. Turns out your teachers were right all along.
3) You'll Spend 50% Of The First Three Weeks Lost
Whether you've just moved to a new and fairly unknown city, or are attending the local college ten minutes down the road, you're still in a new and unfamiliar place in a new situation, with people you mostly won't know. So naturally it's going to take a little time to adjust and find your way around. It doesn't matter that you're trying your level best to look cool and in the know because the rest of the college will know that you're a first year anyway. The fact that you're actually attending during the first week alone is a total giveaway.
4) Meaning You'll Probably End Up In The Wrong Lecture At Some Stage
If this doesn't happen to you, then you my friend, are in the minority. Especially during the above mentioned time frame. It's not like school whereby you know every single member of your class personally, in college there could be 500 people in some of your lectures making it near impossible to know if you've stumbled into the right lecture theater. When however, the lecturer starts banging on about maths instead of film, you may want to pack up and do the walk of shame exit.
5) You'll Make Friends In The First Week That You'll Probably Never See Again
Start college with a positive, friendly attitude and you're bound to meet some fellow positive, friendly people. Just a word of warning though, you're going to make some fantastic lecture friends in the first few days, but as you'll soon discover, people tend not to prioritize lectures and so you'll never see them again. Sad face.
6) Your Accommodation Will Be Worse Than Vile
Just because you're finally out on your own in the big bad world doesn't mean that you're moving into a Monica style apartment. (Big thought mistake on my part.) Instead, expect something slum like and bleak as fuck. Therefore the only way to go from here is up. I just wish I'd followed that advice, when I was greeted with my home for the next year, instead of fabulous, I was met with fire damaged. A thousand tiny dreams died that day.
7) The Freedom Is Better Than You Ever Expected
Goodbye hourly check ins with your parents, you are your own boss now. With freedom though, as they say, comes great responsibility. Not so much when it comes to college life. The only responsibility you'll tend to have here is getting up every morning (tough) and buying enough noodles to get through the week. In return for being a slob, drinking trice weekly and having special sleepovers though, it's a pretty sweet bargain.
8) Winters Are Practically Unbearable
Combine cold lecture halls, glacial accommodation, bad quality clothes, early, dark mornings and a diet lacking in proper nutrition and you have yourself a recipe for freezing ones face off. It's not so much that it's cold, so much as it's actually painful. It actually hurts sometimes. Prepare for nights of drinking seven cups of tea in a bed consisting of nine layers and still not being able to feel your feet. It's at times like this that you're really going to envy those people who still live in their comfortable, toasty home places.
9) The Quietest People Are Generally The Ones That Tend To Go Wild
This of course, isn't that much of a surprise. College has long since been associated with people losing both self respect and their inhibitions, but to actually see it happen is another story. You have to remember that most people have been held captive for eighteen years by their parents with being let out on a Saturday night the only release they get. Now, without rules or boundaries, many will resort to drinking themselves into oblivion and falling into the first bed they find. If this sounds like something that you fear you may turn into, then fear not, college is very much the time and the place to do so. Just remember, sober sex in college rarely, if ever exists, so get yourself down to the off licence. Bottoms up.
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