You know that popular phrase, “If I only knew then what I know now?” Sigh. Why is it so true? After two and a half years as a college student, I’ve finally learned the truths to those college myths. I’ve also realized a lot about what it means to learn more about yourself during those four years of experience–the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Let’s face it, college entails a lot of new ordeals and exciting encounters. Yes, you drink (only if you want to!), you study and work your little butt off, you go to “college” parties, meet a lot of interesting (and sometimes questionable people), and honestly, you screw up sometimes. The ride is always fun, but there are always those little bits and pieces I wish I had more knowledge of beforehand. So, here I am, sharing the wisdom of a junior in college…but let’s be real, I still have a lot to learn myself.
1. The “Freshmen Fifteen” is totally preventable: Parents, friends, college graduates, and peers always try to scare you with the “freshmen fifteen” factor. They seem to believe that all you will do during your first year of an unfamiliar lifestyle is eat microwaveable pizzas, drink beer five days a week, and sit on your futon Saturday and Sunday afternoons watching reruns of “Grey’s Anatomy” and cheesy eighties movies.
Of course, you will have days like these. But, in reality, the freshmen fifteen is so easily avoided. For one, most schools have a gym. You do not have to go every day or on a regular schedule, but it’s there for when you feel a little lethargic and want to get yourself moving. Even the most exercise-phobic college students will check out the gym when it’s at their disposal. Second, your cafeteria will hopefully offer a variety of food choices besides pizza and grilled cheese. You’ll get sick of greasy food, believe me. And, for those of you who don’t already know, drinking alcohol is an appealing part of college.
For those of you who decide not to drink–that’s a great personal choice. I chose to drink as a freshman, and I learned to control myself. It can be considered one of those things that once you get a taste, you go a little crazy. But, like I said, you’ll learn when the right time to drink is and how much to drink is right for you. It most likely will not be your life at college.
2. You may not find your husband or wife at college: One of the most ANNOYING college myths is that supposedly everybody meets their future spouse at their college of choice. Considering the fact that I am still single, I’m starting to believe it just isn’t true. For some, it will happen. I’m sure the fact that I attend a small, private college with a 60:40 girl-to-guy ratio doesn’t give me any advantage( I know, you’re probably wondering how the hell i got stuck in that rut). For the most part though, at least when it comes to guys, they will not be dating material. When the male population spreads their wings past their small high school, chances are they are going to want to get to know more than one female bird at college, where there are more options. Every one knows that girls are more sensitive and more prone to relationships. There will be interests and romances and nights where you feel like you’ve met the one to walk with you hand in hand down the quad. It’s always possible, but don’t be defeated if the next week they tell you they’re talking to the girl in your sociology class. They will eventually grow up. Just be patient until they get bored of being single. You’ll start to see that more often around your junior and senior year, I can almost guarantee it. But, if you are in a happy, healthy relationship at college as of now, I not only commend you, but am also a tad jealous of you!
3. It’s OK to slack off once in a while: Now, when I say slack off, I don’t mean leave your research paper until the day before it’s due or totally neglect to study for your test that’s in a few days. What I mean, is that you’ll learn to live by the motto that “Everything that has to get done, will get done.” I pride myself on being an A-student, but it took me a year or so to learn that I don’t always have to stay in the library until all hours of the night just to get some reading done. I’ve missed out on some fun nights or group dinners with friends because I was paranoid about getting work done by a certain time. As a freshman and sophomore, I thought that If I didn’t get something done by the time I had set, it wouldn’t be my “best” work. If you haven’t already, you will learn that pushing things to the side once in a while will not threaten your GPA or your ability to score high marks. If you have faith in your academic capabilities and trust your work ethic, all of your hard work will pay off in a positive way.
4. You will find lifetime friends at college: So this “myth” may be true, at least in my case. The greatest part of meeting friends at college is that it gives you a new perspective of where people come from. Before college, you tend to think everybody will be like the people you went to high school with for four years. You have a very little idea of the different opinions, trends, routines, and even language that arise from different states. I was the same exact way–every one was a New Yorker! Every one hung out in Wendy’s parking lots! Every one came from the suburbs where there were traffic lights at every street and a convenience store on every corner! Every one has been to New York City! That’s not the case at all. Instead, your horizons expand. You learn about what they did for fun in high school and you visit their hometowns and enjoy the experience of something totally new. Even if you commute to college, you end up learning about people who you may have passed by one the street but knew nothing about. You end up bonding over college itself, which is something you could never do with friends at home or from your high school. That in itself makes it special. High school wasn’t always peaches and cream for me, so college gave me new opportunities for meeting people. And let me tell you, the memories I have made will be stories to tell my kids one day! Okay, not every memory will be shared with my kids, but you get the point.
5. You don’t have to decide your future career/major the second you step foot on campus: If you have no idea what you want to do with your life as far as your career goes, don’t feel the pressure to decide right away. You can take any class you want your first few semesters of college–psychology, drama, music, anthropology, women’s studies, Chinese, and art, among many others. The point is to make mistakes, and to figure out what you’re not interested in to get you one step closer to figuring out what your true passion is. I chose a major based on what I already knew I excelled in, but what if I could have been the new Freud after taking more psychology classes? I may never know! Don’t be afraid if you’re entering the last half of college and you’re still unsure if you made the right choice. I know that for myself, I want to pursue graduate school and do something different with the English and Mass Communication degrees I will be receiving. Also, pursuing a graduate degree these days is highly looked upon. And, depending what college or university you go to, you may even get to create your own major. You might be overwhelmed with how may options you have when it comes to your choice of study, so take the time to weave through them all. But, remember, all work and no play is never fun…or healthy!
For you lovelies in college, is there anything you would add to my list? For those is high school or entering college, what do you think of it?