When students arrive on campus, they have a lot of expectations of how the college life will be based on images of the college experience in mass media. While many of these may be true, some are really just myths. In college, you will have more freedom than you ever have had before. That means that everyone chooses his or her own path and experiences while in school, and there is not and never will be a “normal” college experience, which is a good thing. Life would be so boring if it was normal. Here are a few myths about college!
- “You will stay up late.”: Last summer, my brother and I had many arguments about whether or not I, a staunch morning person, would adjust to the “college way of life” and stay up until 1:00 AM on weeknights studying or running around campus with friends. If you are a night owl, then good news: you can still be one in college; but if you aren’t, better news: you don’t have to be one in college. You don’t need to try to train yourself to live on 2 hours of sleep, as one of my cousins has been trying to do, in order to be successful. Find a schedule that works for you and keep it. I guarantee you will not be a social pariah for going to bed at a reasonable hour, even during exams.
- “College students party and drink themselves senseless.”: Not all college students drink. During orientation, you will probably see all sorts of presentations on drinking safely, how to identify symptoms of alcohol poisoning, and what to do if your friend’s drunkenness is endangering his or her person. They probably won’t say much to discourage drinking, even though it is illegal for those under 18, because they just expect that students will do it. If you, like me, see no reason to drink or party your life away, you will find plenty of people who share your opinion and will be more than happy to find better amusements.
- “You will find your new best friends immediately.”: If you are remarkably lucky, that may be the case. However, it is more likely that you won’t find just the right friend group for a few days or weeks. Taking classes or joining extracurricular groups filled with people who share your interests will probably lead you to a great friend group fairly quickly. If you feel a bit lonely at first, accept that it won’t last too long.
- “Professors don’t care about students.”: Of course, as with any body of people, you can always find a few unpleasant professors, but most care deeply for both their subjects and their students. If you are engaged in lectures and show your professors respect, they will certainly show you respect and be willing to help you with whatever you need.
- “Textbooks will cost hundreds of dollars.”: Textbooks are expensive. If you tried to buy all of your books directly from the campus bookstore, you would be paying quite a lot. Some books, particularly short works like novels, can be very affordable, while highly specialized textbooks will be much more expensive. Fear not: thanks to the internet and the glories of recycling, you do not need to pay hundreds of dollars for books! Consider renting books from your campus bookstore (you don’t have to ship them back, you can just drop them off). Try these sites to find the best deals on books.
Myths, busted. One thing that is definitely not a myth: college is one of the most exciting times of your life. Enjoy it!