If you’re a junior or senior in high school, you’re probably excited and terrified at the idea of going to college. You’ve asked around, and you’ve been told what to expect from your college experience. But what if they haven’t told you everything? Stay ahead of the game, and read these 5 things that nobody tells you about college:
1. It’s scary
College is fun and exciting, but it’s also very scary! You’ll be doing things you’ve never been exposed to before and meeting people you’ve never seen, all in an unfamiliar environment. There’s no doubt that your time in college will be scary, but you’ll find strength in the community around you. Think of community like a school of fish. Each individual fish is measly on its own, yet when fish group up, they create something remarkable. Remember that everyone is just as scared, stressed, worried, and anxious about college as you are. Realizing that others are going through the same emotions will help you feel less alone and find community.
2. You will have set-backs
Don’t expect to have it all figured out the first time. You’ll sleep through your alarm and arrive to class late. You’ll forget on your desk a paper you’ve been slaving away at. You’ll get a horrible grade on an assignment. While you may feel like it’s the end of the world when things don’t go exactly as planned, remember it’s OK to fail sometimes. Failure is a healthy part of enjoying success. Without failure, we wouldn’t know what success looks like. Yes, you will fail, but if you can get past the fear of failing, you will find many opportunities to succeed.
3. Your friend group may change
It might be upsetting, but some of the friends you have now may not be your friends in the future. This may happen because of proximity or because you and your friends have different majors, class schedules, and dorm assignments. Another culprit could be that you both might change. You may not be able to relate to each other as well because you have become different people. Though you want to hold on to your friends, during this transitional stage in life it’s important to hold on loosely. On the bright side, this provides the opportunity to make new friends! You will form long-lasting relationships in college that you may never have expected. This also means that your old friendships that have survived despite the changes will be much stronger as a result.
4. You will have second thoughts
No matter how certain you are of your current trajectory, you will reconsider your choices on more than one occasion. You might have doubts about your major, future aspirations, or even who you are as a person. This is normal. Although it may be worrisome to realize that not everything is a sure thing, be encouraged as this is a refining process. Use your times of doubt and uncertainty to determine the things that matter most to you. So while your initial plan might change, you are getting one step closer to figuring out who you are, what you want, and how to achieve your goals.
5. Things will not be as you expected
No matter how much you prepare for college, things will not be exactly as you expect them to be. This may make you anxious and that’s okay, but who is to say that your image of what to expect out of college is the most satisfying? There is no need to fear the unknown, despite how unsettling it might be. In fact, braving the unknown is how we learn new things. Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from trying new things and fully enjoying your college experience. There is a lot about the college experience that is daunting, but be encouraged because it will be one of the more memorable experiences of your life!
Last updated: February 23, 2024 Cairn’s Student Financial Services recently hosted a webinar that addressed common questions and concerns, including: Is the FAFSA really simplified? We break down recent changes
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