Freshman Year: When You Don't Love College
Whoever thought of the phrase ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ was definitely onto something. Especially when you’re fresh out of high school and heading into your freshman year of college. No matter how hard you prepare yourself for college, with studying, reading books written by students, subscribing to blogs, taking college-level classes while still in high school, etc., nothing prepares you for the reality that is your first year of college. Freshman year is a minefield, and it’s incredibly easy to step somewhere you don’t want to.
Some of the most common complaints are as follows.
A lot of students think to themselves that if they did an 8-3 schedule in high school, surely they can do that now. That’s where they’re wrong. If you’re the kind of person that wakes up that early anyway, maybe you can manage it, but most students find themselves dragging, as energy becomes pretty hard to come by when projects have you up into the early hours of the day.
Never underestimate the power of the faculty. Having a teacher that doesn’t interest you creates a huge conflict with your studies, because most professors don’t grade on attendance, meaning you have that chance to give in to the temptation of skipping the class. Don’t. Do. It. Do yourself a favor early on and research the teacher! RateMyProfessors is an excellent resource for discovering what your peers thought of different teachers, classes, even schools! Take advantage of the resources you have. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself stranded in a class with a teacher who can’t hold your attention for more than a few minutes, and for roughly 8 hours a week you’ll regret every decision you’ve ever made.
When you were in high school, your breaks were provided to you. My first semester I made the mistake of scheduling my classes back to back, meaning I never got any real lunch break, let alone time to recover from the last several hours of mental drainage, resulting in the horrid (albeit common) habit of grab-and-go. And generally the things you can grab aren’t at all good for your body or brain.
Lo and behold, not only do you have the dreaded finals to look forward to, but there are 1-2 midterms! They pop up out of nowhere, and this is when you discover: No one schedules your tests for you anymore. You have to schedule them, and then actually manage to show up! Somehow, it’s like you’re never fully prepared for the tests when they come, and the stress of the days leading up to them is unmatched. The best thing you can do is always take solid notes. And make sure you schedule your mid-terms at the time you know you’re most awake. (This will come in handy when planning next semester’s classes as well!)
Before you started college you probably saw loads of shows and movies and ads that portrayed college as a time for parties and friends, the evening scene was the time for relaxation. Well, that’s generally not at all true. Most of your evenings are spent trying to sort through the enormous workload you have been handed (again) as you juggle the major projects you’re working on as well. Your nights are exhausting and full of so much work you feel like sleep has given up on you permanently.
In high school, group projects weren’t too big of a deal. Most of the work was done at school, in class, making it super easy to at least get the work done in a timely manner. In college, it’s different. Generally your groups are assigned, and, if they’re not, that doesn’t help any. Class time doesn’t get set aside for group projects: your professor’s lectures will continue as if the thing didn’t exist. Next thing you know you’re caught in a flurry of trying to find the time to meet up with your peers, and hoping that everyone will turn in their part to the chosen person (and you better hope there’s a person) on time.
The list goes on and on, but don’t fret. You might look back on freshman year and cringe in the years to come, but all the little mistakes you make your first time through will only make the next few years better. Like anything, college takes practice, so sit back and enjoy the ride, and in a few months you’ll look back and be glad you made it. And you’ll actually love reading things like this; because they show you how incredibly far you’ve come!