Whether you’re going to be a first-time freshman or transferring after getting your associate’s degree, moving away to school for the first time is completely new territory – and numerous references will try to give you the “perfect picture” of what your new lifestyle will be like. Legally Blonde has you envisioning cutthroat peers in a pristine lecture hall; your older sister can’t stop talking about rush week and parties. College has been labeled with many stereotypes and “guidelines” that people will try to give you. Newsflash: your university experience does not come with a set of rules; each person’s college experience does not follow instructions so that it’s the same for everyone. Here is a list of some of the myths about college that have been proved wrong by those who has been there and done that.
1. Myth: Never become best friends with your roommate.
Fact: Many people may try to tell you that this is never a good idea. You’ll spend too much time together, then you’ll get sick of each other, which will then climax into a major cat fight, leading to either a semester of misery, a complicated room re-assignment, or (*gasp!*) one of you transferring. I’m here to tell you: stop it with the dramatic assumptions already! It’s true: many roommates end up simply being peaceful acquaintances that happen to share a room. But, if you and your roommate really hit it off, don’t miss out on an awesome friend because of the “advice” others have given you. Just be sure to make friends with other people as well and don’t spend every waking moment together. It’s all about balance.
2. Myth: Everyone drinks in college.
Fact: Yes, some people like their beer. Others, including myself, do not. And you know what? No one cares if it’s not your thing. Something wonderful about college is that you are exposed to a large number of people, all within your age range, with an endless list of different backgrounds and interests. If you put yourself out there and make an effort to meet people, you will find plenty of friends who like to spend Saturday nights the same way you do.
3. Myth: Upperclassmen will look down upon you.
Fact: You will not have a flashing light over your head screaming “freshman!!!” as you walk through the quad. Some first-year students are eighteen; some are forty-eight. In a sea of jeans-wearing, Starbucks-carrying students, there is really no way to tell if you’re a newbie. And if someone asks what year you are, why should it make a difference in his or her life if you’re a freshman? They have more important things to think about.
4. Myth: Stupid drama doesn’t happen in college.
Fact: We’re supposed to be more mature, career-seeking young adults, so that means all that high school drama simply flies out the dorm room window, right? Oh, if only. The fact is, some people get entertainment out of gossip and drama. And living in such close quarters can sometimes make it very difficult to avoid. The key to this is who you choose to be friends with. That girl who sits behind you in statistics that talks trash about her “best friend” before class everyday? Stay clear of her. The cooperative, confident girl in your history project group? Ask if she wants to study together for the next test. Get good at reading people. It will help you for the rest of your life.
5. Myth: College guys are way more mature than high school guys.
Fact: Some guys have matured since reaching college. Others, however, have not. Remember, it hasn’t been that long since he was a high school student; it’s not fair to expect him to have made some kind of miraculous transformation just because he’s wearing a college sweatshirt and lives away from home now. It may seem like common sense, but if you’re sore about your experiences with guys in high school, don’t assume college will be the answer to your prayers.
6. Myth: You will not get homesick.
Fact: Many high school seniors and community college graduates can’t move away fast enough. However, no matter how thirsty you are for your newfound freedom, you probably will feel homesick at some point. It’s perfectly normal. Just don’t deal with it by Skyping friends from home every single day instead of making an effort to get to know people at school. Then, when you do get home, you will be way more appreciative of your mom’s cooking and your dad’s crazy humor.
Above all, make the most of it! Your college experience will truly be what you make it, so enjoy every second of it!