With less than a month left in my first year of college, I can honestly say that I think I got this college thing down to a T. Though I took college courses in high school and online through my local community college, I still wasn’t prepared for my first year of college. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I had a full culture shock experience, but there are unique things I’ve encountered on campus that I have never faced before.
- NEVER TAKE AN 8 AM CLASS
You think after going to school at 8am for 12+ years, I’d be used to going to school at this time. NOPE.
2.) Don’t expect to be BFFs with the people you hang out with during the first weekend
It’s before classes actually start and everybody is still in summer mode. Just trust me; you will probably never talk to those people again.
3.) Some of the best friends you will make will be in your major’s department
Why? Especially if your department is small, you will be taking most of the same classes for 4+ years and will be suffering through them together.
4.) Have fun with your electives and explore new topics
While you’re still an undergrad, you have to fill a certain amount of credit hours with useless electives. For me, that’s over 30 hours give or take. I take advantage of this by taking fun, yet easy classes that can help boost my GPA.
5.) A lot of colleges follow A +- scale
If your high school didn’t have an A +- grading scale, prepare to encounter the worst thing about college (besides paying for it). If you want a 4.0, that means you have to get 95% or better in all of your classes.
6.) Living in a dorm is the best and worst thing ever
For most, college means living on your own for the first time. Most colleges have some form of student housing. Even though I don’t live too far away, for this first year I decided to live on campus. I love my roommate and living on my own, but they don’t tell you when you sign your housing contract that it’s also the worst thing ever. People will be blaring music and running down the halls at all hours of the night. Plus, there is never enough privacy.
7.) Study sessions with friends never end up being beneficial
If you’re taking a class with a friend, do not study for a test together. You will end up goofing off for hours and get nothing done. I’m not saying not to take classes with your friends, but trust me on this – it can make or break your grades.
8.) Campus squirrels are weird
Campus squirrels are a different breed of animal. Most of them have lived on campus their whole lives because there is always food around and trees for them to hang out with. They are so chill; you could probably just walk up to them and pet them.
9.) Do not get overinvolved
Yes, all students should get involved in something on campus, but don’t sign up for more than you can handle.
10.) Quizlet is your new best friend
Quizlet is the best thing for college students for two reasons. First, it can help you learn stuff and review information for tests easier. Secondly, you can find a lot of homework questions and answers on there.
11.) If you have a dining plan, you will get sick of it fast
For the most part, they will serve the same thing for a week for lunch and dinner. Normally it’s decent, but don’t get the same thing over and over.
12.) You probably should know MLA/ APA by heart
If you don’t know the ins and outs of the two major writing styles, you probably should before writing a paper.
13.) Check your email every morning
Checking both my personal and school emails is the first thing I do when I wake up. This is so I can find out if a class has been canceled or if there is an event going on that day I might need to know about.
14.) Professors do take attendance every day
So just go to class. It’s the easiest way to keep your grade up.
15.) Don’t buy your textbooks at the campus store
Unless you’re under a scholarship that says you have to, don’t get the books at the campus store because they are overpriced. Amazon will be your best friend in college.
16.) Don’t buy your textbooks
Again, unless you have to or you’re going to be a doctor one day, you don’t need your books. If you do buy them, either you can sell them a quarter of the price or they will sit on a shelf for ten years. Just rent them or try to find an online version.
17.) Don’t take night classes
If I’m spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to take a class, I don’t want to be half asleep when I’m learning.
18.) Your grades may be based on two tests
They just are. If you’re lucky you might have weekly participation points or essays to help counteract this.
19.) It is okay to ask for help
For the amount you’re paying for a class, your teacher should give you at least a little bit of help when you need it.
20.) You can question why you’re even going to college or want to switch majors
That’s completely okay, and it will happen a lot.