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College: What to Expect

If movies and TV series are to be believed, the four years you spend in college will be the very best of your life, you will be living your dream, and time will fly. Truth be told, things might not be as hunky-dory, at least in the initial stages. A lot of high school graduates have very fantastical notions about college, and when reality doesn't match up to them, they often feel disillusioned. Thankfully, there is a simple solution to that problem - keep things real and know what to expect when you turn up for your very first day at college.

 

College is a new ball game altogether

Making the transition from high school to college can be an uphill task for some students especially because the ambiance of college is radically different from grade school. For starters, you get a taste of real independence as nobody forces you to attend classes or punishes you for missing them. You get to choose your courses and you get to spend your time according to your wishes. The freedom, though, comes with its own set of responsibilities as you are expected to behave like an adult and be answerable for your choices.

 

Make the most of the orientation

The orientation session is a golden opportunity to gather information about all aspects of college life; being shy or intimidated during this time won't get you anywhere. A typical orientation day has sessions related to course scheduling, academic counseling, library resources, extracurricular activities, dorm life, etc. These sessions will help you familiarize yourself with many resources that you will need for your academic pursuits. For instance, you will be introduced to your academic counselor, you will get to know about different computer labs, online resources and library regulations.

At the same time, it is also a great way to socialize, make new friends and talk to your seniors about different student sororities and organizations. Once you become an active member of some clubs or get involved in sports, you are bound to make new friends. Even if you are not interested in these activities, spend some time in the cafeteria or the study lounge and strike up a casual conversation with fellow students there. Soon enough, you will realize that making new friends is easier than it's made out to be.

 

Keep a tab on your wallet

A few weeks in college and you will suddenly understand the importance of spending frugally. At home, everything is paid for and you don't have to worry a lot about money. However, things are very different in college. There are a bunch of parties and social gatherings and money flows freely during this time. Before you know it, you might just go broke. To prevent that, keep a tab on your spending since you will be expected to get by each month on a particular amount of money. Make note of your daily expenditure or keep some money in a separate wallet for emergency situations. Additionally, avoid using your credit card too often or else, you will graduate with a huge debt.

 

Be prepared to slog it out 

As you would have probably guessed by now, academic workload is significantly high in college. You will be expected to come prepared for classes, to do background reading, to conduct research for your assignments, to prepare for quizzes, etc. It would be a good idea to make regular trips to the library or even spend some time studying there. Feel free to contact your professors if you have any problems and you will be surprised at their eagerness to help in whatever way possible. In fact, you can actually gain a lot by developing meaningful relationships with your professors at college. If they know you are taking their classes seriously, they are more likely to help you out in the future.

 

Dorm and cafeteria life

It's only natural for college freshmen to be both excited and apprehensive about living in dorms and eating at cafeterias. While living in a dorm, you will be expected to share your room with others and deal with problems like not-so-clean bathrooms, crowded laundry rooms and noisy roommates. As scary as this sounds, you will gradually get used to the conditions and learn to steer through any unpleasant circumstances. It's important to be patient but if things get too uncomfortable, feel free to contact your resident assistant. Similarly, eating at a college cafeteria is an entirely new experience. You might be tempted to load your plate with pizzas, burgers, fried chicken, and ice cream, but choose healthier alternatives like fruits, salads and frozen yogurt for your own well-being. The "freshman 15" is a phrase for a reason!

 

Have fun! Live it up!

In the midst of the academic workload, peer competition, sorority pressure, etc., don't forget to enjoy your college life. Get to know your campus and discover the most exciting cafes, eating joints, night clubs, etc. Hang out with your friends at these places, attend concerts and other cultural events on campus. Even if popular movies exaggerate and glorify things, college life is a blessing in many ways and it would be tragic if you don't enjoy it to the hilt.

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