I always wanted to go to college because I was one of those determined students who start to think about their future and believe that college will be an important step in their growth. I wasn’t one of those who expect college to be the best four years in their lives because I knew that it will be very expensive and that I won’t have much time for my hobbies. My expectations, however, weren’t too bad, and the main reason was that I didn’t really know much about college life.
It’s easy to imagine college as non-stop fun or a part of an academic career. What’s difficult to imagine is the routine. After I spent a semester just doing my regular everyday activities, I quickly realized why college sucks, and here are some things you should prepare for.
1. High School to College Transition
First of all, you should keep in mind that high school and college curricula are totally different. You may feel great about yourself in high school, but the reason is that you don’t know how difficult your assignments can be, and how much homework you can get. In college, you will quickly realize that assignments that you had in high school were much easier, and the college workload is just terrifying.
An interesting fact about college is that, no matter whether or not you’ve been successful in high school, you will be extremely stressed, and your life will be much more difficult. Unfortunately, schools, and especially public schools, fail to prepare students for college. As a result, the very transition can take a lot of time and effort.
2. Maintaining Your GPA
Maintaining your GPA will be one of your main concerns and the reason why you’ll constantly feel stressed out. However, the saddest thing about maintaining your GPA is that it’s actually a quite difficult thing to do so you will need to work hard. You will study on weekends, you won’t sleep at night, and you will skip your dinners. You will revise and edit your papers over and over again, only to hear from your professor that a bad great point average will ruin your future.
If anyone asked me to describe college life with one word, my answer would be: stressful. College kinda sucks because you're always surrounded by stress (at least I used to be). Even before my first semester ended, I had already felt more exhausted than ever. Stress is everywhere. The main source of stress is a tremendous amount of work. In college, you will also feel constant pressure from professors, parents, and peers so you will try to succeed at any cost. Even when you decide to simply watch a movie or play a video game, you may not be able to relax because you will constantly think about an exam you should prepare for and an assignment that is due in a few days.
4. The Freshman Fifteen
If you think it’s a myth, I’ve got bad news for you. When somebody tells you that your whole life will go downhill after college, they tell the truth. My metabolism slowed down, I lost my motivation almost completely, and the only things I could do were sleep and eat. It’s hard to find any energy in yourself to workout when you don’t even have enough energy for a basic essay. I gained a lot of weight and quickly realized that being a freshman is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.
5. Living in the Dorm
In the dorm, you will be constantly surrounded by people. No matter whether you know them or not, it’s difficult to get used to the fact that there’s always something happening around you. People run down the hall, you hear three different tracks playing from different rooms, along with TV noises, sounds of the flushing toilets, and the beeping of vending machines.
Besides, you may have one to five roommates, and your roommates can be very annoying. Let’s be honest, it’s really difficult to live with someone for a while, especially if you don’t choose these people as your friends (or enemies… or both).
6. Nobody Will Tell You What to Do
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Nobody will tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, so you’ll be your own boss. Well, the truth is that sometimes you would appreciate someone to tell you what to do, and that’s a reason why executives hire personal assistants.
In college, nobody will remind you about due dates, and professors won’t repeat things that are especially important for the upcoming exam. Besides, your parents won’t wake you up in the morning so that you can get to the lecture on time. On the one hand, having more freedom is nice. On the other hand, this freedom comes with a lot of responsibility.
7. Skipping Classes for Other Classes
Imagine how you’ve already completed all your assignments, written an essay, prepared for a quiz, and started to work on your project. It’s already late so you decide that you’ll finish your project in the morning. You think that you’ll wake up early but instead, you sleep in because you were too exhausted yesterday. The project is really important for your grade so you skip your morning class to complete that project that you need for another class. That’s what happened to me a dozen times.
When I was in high school, I thought that I would never pull an all-nighter. The reason is that I thought that I’m a well-organized student. Well, no matter how well-organized I am, all-nighters are a regular thing for me now. I haven’t had more than five hours of sleep for a week now, and it’s not the worst week so far.
9. There’s Always Not Enough Time
Classes, homework, projects, meetings with professors, meetings with other students for group projects, appointments, internships — these are just a few things that will take a lot of your time. If you have a favorite hobby, forget about it because you may not even have enough time for your dinner.
10. Common Misconceptions About College
TV shows and movies make college seem like a great experience. If you expect that college is a non-stop party, let me disappoint you. First, if you decide to party non-stop, you won’t even be able to finish your first year in college. The thing is that homework and classes will take most of your time. Secondly, you may need to bring your own booze to a party, so don’t expect to drown in free beer.
College sucks, it’s just a fact. Will you be able to survive college? It’s up to you. Perhaps, my first semester in college would be easier if someone told me about these ten challenges of college life, so I hope that my observations will help you prepare for it!