Identity

The Non-Academic Things I’ve Learned in College (so far)

As I’m writing this, I can clearly remember being in high school thinking, “Someone save me and get me to college already, PLEASE.” I didn’t have much friends back then and it was mainly the reason why I wanted college so bad. With that in mind, I expected college to be the haven of all great things. Talk about a plethora of friends, social events, freedom, and most importantly, I thought I’d be done with it in four years.

Turns out, I had it all wrong. None of the things I mentioned were true.

Now that I’m four years in, I realized I’ve been in here for a long time now; and hey, I’m surviving! It’s fine, the experience is fun, well it has been, at least. At first, I must admit that I got a bit culture-shocked by the nature of college. But now that I finally understand the hang of it, let me talk about the good stuff and the bad stuff; but mostly about the bad stuff. The stuff that will make you want to really think hard.

1. MAXIMIZE YOUR FRESHMAN EXPERIENCE, EVEN IF IT MAKES YOU LOOK REALLY STUPID SOMETIMES.

Chances are, you’re going to regret every single thing you do in college within the span of two weeks. So, while you’re in your first year, consider that being your excuse to actually embrace being a freshman. Ask a lot of questions, be loud, explore and get lost around the campus, and most importantly, try to make friends. This is your experimental stage. Think of it as you testing the waters. While I stand by the fact that not everyone is going to be your friend in college (we’ll touch on that topic later on), I still think it’s pretty necessary that you get yourself acquainted with the different types of people in college.

Expose yourself in cliques, groups, and all that shenanigan. You’ll be surprised at how a lot of people in here can be mean and still manage to get away with what they do, but this way you’ll also get to meet your type of people; which is definitely worth the effort of going around getting to know literally everybody. It’s the kind of experience you’ll want to look back on when you’re in your junior year and laugh about, and that’s literally the best feeling in the history of college.

2. WHEN THE PROFESSOR CALLS YOU OUT FOR WHATEVER IT IS YOU MUST HAVE DONE, NEVER TAKE IT PERSONALLY.

College professors aren’t like your high school teachers. Not. At. All. In college, they’re all really unpredictable. Each professor has a distinctive style of authority from the others and you’ll most likely be able to distinguish them from each other. But what I’ve noticed is they’re more critical and less emotional than high school teachers (based on my experience). So, if a college professor ever tells you something harsh that may have offended you in any way, do not take it to heart and then hate them forever. College has a different sense of “stress” and you just couldn’t exclude your professors out of the equation since they’re human, too.

Also, they most likely don’t even remember your name. Trust me, whatever it is, they mean no harm. To most of them (at least for me), it’s all a professional student-professor type of relationship. This may surprise some, but they actually make really good mentors outside the classroom especially if you happen to find a common ground.

3. EATING ALONE IS THE NORM AND IT’S HONESTLY LIBERATING.

Remember in high school, when you were so worried about not belonging in a specific table at lunch? Fret no more, there’s no such crap in here. Everybody in college has a different class schedule and no two schedules are remotely similar; unless you talk your friend into taking every single class with you. Your break times could be different from the rest of your friends and that’s totally normal! That’s the beauty of college: individualistic ideals are valued here. That’s one of my favourite things about it. I can peacefully enjoy my salmon sandwich all on my own without anybody giving me the weird look.

4. NOT EVERYONE IS AS FRIENDLY AS THEY SEEM.

Therefore, you cannot keep every single person you meet as a friend. Unfortunately, we can’t get rid of the meanies. Basically, there are two types: the upfront one and the subtle one. You’ll want to avoid the latter since they’re the sneakiest; literally you won’t see them doing the honors and cutting your own luck off you from behind your back. You’re going to meet the ones with the sweetest faces and nicest smiles, but not everyone does it genuinely so keep an eye on them. It’s ideal to stay civil with them but once you’ve seen the signs, please save yourself and get as far away as you can. You don’t need that toxicity in college. Take it from me.

5. HAVE FUN, NO MATTER WHAT.

The thing is, everyone at university is feeling the exact same way you’re feeling. You’re stressed out? Everyone is. Or you’re basically just tired of everything? Don’t worry, because everyone is, too. And because of this, it’s important to just savour each moment, whether it be good or bad, and just have fun. Because at the end of the day, you’re not alone in this college experience and millions of students your age are going through the exact same thing. Whatever it is you have going on, keep in mind that one way or another, it’s bound to pass and everything’s going to be alright.

See you around!

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