1. Minimum wage is a joke
You may have had a summer job in high school, and you might have even made minimum wage. At that point you probably thought it was great to just have your own money to spend rather than relying on your parents. Well unless your parents are consistently giving you spendable money in college, prepare to begin despising minimum wage with all of your soul. You’ll learn quickly that $7.25/hour gets you nowhere if you’re paying anything towards your education on your own.
2. Being “smart” may have gotten you by in high school, but you’re going to need more than brains to succeed in college
You’ll quickly learn that college evens the playing field for all levels of prior intelligence. It’s very true that if you adapt good study skills, time management and work really hard, it doesn’t matter how “smart” you think you are. College makes you smarter if you let it, it really doesn’t matter how you were before getting there. With that said, it’s very easy for people with straight A’s in high school to fall short in college if they don’t work even harder than they usually did, and it’s also 100% possible for C students in high school to rise to the occasion.
3. You might have a mental breakdown but you’ll survive
Whether it’s the first year or first week, at some point you’re going to experience a type of stress you’ve never felt before. You might cry or panic or consider giving up on school, but remember that you’re still learning how this whole “college” thing works. Everyone has those breakdown moments, so know that it’s OK and no reason to feel like it’s time to quit.
4. You need your parents more than you ever realized
One of the best parts of college is being on your own and not having your parents watching your every move. You’ll learn quickly that staying close to your parents emotionally is super critical. Whether it’s for emotional, financial or other types of support, your parents can truly be your biggest cheerleaders. College is a time where you can leave all the drama you had with your parents in high school in the past, and start having mature, positive relationships with them.
5. Weight gain
Of course everyone has heard of the “freshman 15” before college. But a lot of people go in thinking that they’re capable of making smart decisions and are able to stay healthy and active in college. While this is 100% possible, a lot of people don’t realize how easy the weight gain really is. From not playing a sport for the first time in years, meal swipes, drinking, stress, and less time to exercise, those pounds can stack on incredibly quickly. However, you have a free rec center and a lot of food freedom, so if you make the conscious effort daily to stay healthy, you’ll be able to do that. It definitely comes down to choice and awareness.
6. You can be really happy without being in the “popular” crowd
A huge social difference between college and high school, assuming your college has more students than your high school class did is the elimination of the social pyramid. Greek life may be different, but there aren’t really any “cliques” in a big university. You have your group, other people have theirs. Nobody is “better” than other people because of their friend group. It’s a chance to finally find the people you vibe with and not have any pressure to do anything different.
7. Those people who told you “I worked my way through college and didn’t take out a penny in loans” clearly have no idea about current wages and prices.
You’ll quickly learn that unless your parents are doing it all for you, it’s basically impossible to leave college debt free. Working full time on a minimum wage job would maybe pay for tuition at the cheapest in state school in America. And that’s assuming full time work is even remotely possible while in school (it isn’t). Basically, prepare to take out loans and work hard while earning little to nothing. Oh, and continue to listen to all the ignorant old folks that tell you if you just “be responsible” you’ll easily pay your way through school. They went to school in a time where the cost of one semester is what it costs to buy a semesters worth of textbooks today.
8. Not having any reliable means of transportation
Whether or not you had your own car in high school, you at least had friends with cars and your parents to take you place. You don’t realize how essential these conveniences are until you’re dropped off on a college campus however many miles away from home. Uber will become your best friend, and you better figure out the public transportation system quickly. Having a car is definitely not a requirement in college, but it definitely becomes a surprising, unfamiliar challenge for a lot of people.
9. There’s no “days off
Remember those Mondays in high school where you could pretend to be sick and stay home watching Netflix and relaxing all day? Those don’t exist in college. Granted, it’s a lot easier to “pretend to be sick” and skip as much class as you want. However, unless you’re trying to be a C student for 4 years, you’ll learn quickly that taking a day off on a Monday isn’t actually a possibility. Even if you are sick, you’re probably going to have to get your butt to class anyways unless you want to spend a week catching up.
10. Not everyone wants to be your friend, and that’s okay
People don’t have to be friends with everyone, and a lot of people won’t want to be. Some people want to stick to themselves, and others are just really picky about who they commit their time to. And honestly, you should be picky about that too. With the struggle of time management throughout the semester, you do need to be choosy about who and what you commit your time to. So accept that other people might not have you on the top of their priority list, and that’s okay for them and for you.
11. Leaving your pets
No explanation needed, nothing in the world will prepare you for this part. Is college even worth this??