The months leading up to your freshman year are exciting. With high school officially behind you, you’re getting move-in supplies ready, seeing friends before you leave, and setting your sights on college. But before scenes from Old School or Van Wilder start running through your head, it’s time to step back for a realistic look at college life. There’s a lot more to consider than simply going to and from class, and setting the right expectations is vital to succeeding.
To give our students a real edge on their freshman year, we’ve compiled a list of 5 things you should NOT expect in college:
1). Partying every night of the week.
We’re not denying there will be plenty of opportunities to have fun in college. Enjoying your independence and trying new things is an important aspect of the experience. But along those lines it’s essential to remember why you’re going to college in the first place.
As you go through your academic years it is crucial to a find a balance between school and a social life. You’re there to learn, to explore—and to take care of business. A dedicated student realizes nightly blowouts are not a realistic expectation (especially when your GPA starts heading south), and despite what you may see in the movies, the “party animal” character wears out their welcome much sooner than you’d think.
2). Teachers to follow up on your homework.
High school teachers are much more stringent about homework than college instructors. If you didn’t turn in your homework on time in high school, a teacher might keep you after class to ask why or may give a second chance to turn it in. Don’t expect that to happen in college—instructors have hundreds (if not thousands) of students to teach, and often times will have graduate students reviewing homework assignments. With a student volume that massive, it’d be nearly impossible to follow up on every person’s work. You either turn in your work on time or kiss that credit goodbye.
3). Working solo.
In high school, you had a fair share of essays, reports, and homework to tackle on your own. However unlike in high school, in college you’ll find yourself much more involved with in-class group assignments and team projects. Why? Because college is preparing you for the real world, where you’ll have to work with a group of people towards a common goal (i.e. your job). Group assignments are much more than busy work for you and your classmates, they’re team-building exercises to refine your communication and leadership skills.
4). Getting called into the principal’s office.
One of the most loathed experiences for any high schooler is getting called into the office. Whether it’s about your grades, conduct, or not having a hall pass, it’s a major pain to deal with. Well guess what? Unless you start a riot in the quad, in college you will most likely never have to experience being sent to the office. This can definitely be a positive thing, but at the same time can be a slippery slope for neglectful students. It’ll be up to you to keep track of your academic progress, and if you’re taking the wrong courses or doing poorly in class, don’t expect the dean to break it down for you. You’ll need to be proactive and take initiative, which leads to the final thing you should not expect in college…
5). Somebody to clean up after you.
We’re talking both in a literal and figurative sense. Once you’re on your own you’ll have to take care of laundry, cleaning your living space, and buying your own groceries. It sounds simple enough but between class, a job, or an internship it can be hard to find a balance. Furthermore, if you find yourself in need of something extra it’s on you to follow through. That special-order textbook for chemistry class? That doctor’s appointment you need to schedule? Those registration forms you need to fill out? They’re all your responsibilities now, and you’ll need to make them happen.
What else should an incoming freshman NOT expect? What SHOULD they expect? What was your biggest shocker going into college? Share your knowledge in a comment below.