College. I had dreamed about it for as long as I can remember. Complete independence, unlimited freedom, and a chance to actually study about what I cared about. It seemed too good to be true, and I couldn’t wait. September 28th, 2016 to October 4, 2016: my first week of college, and it was absolutely nothing like I expected it to be.
For starters, I had no idea that making friends would be so incredibly difficult. I thought that once I got to college, I would have friends anywhere and everywhere. Boy, was I wrong. I remember the first week of college like it was yesterday. I would eat lunch alone. Walk to class alone. Sit in class alone. And, let’s not forget, stay home alone on the weekends. When I pictured college, this was the last thing I expected it to be. I never thought I would be as bored as I was. One thing I learned was that if I wanted to make friends in college, I had to be proactive about it and really make it work. It wasn’t like high school where it was so easy to make friends in class. I realized I really had to go out of my way and put myself out there if I wanted to have somewhat of a social life: definitely not what I expected college to be.
I also didn’t expect professors to be so lenient when it came to attending classes. I really was accountable for myself in every aspect. If I missed a class, my professors would never know. For the longest time I thought that attendance in college was required. If you missed a class, it would reflect in your participation score. Obviously, this was not the case. I remember when I missed my first lecture because I accidentally slept in. It was an 8:30 for my economics class, and when I woke up at 9:30 I freaked out. However, as I anxiously anticipated the nonexistent email from my professor for the remainder of the day, I realized that he really didn’t care. My absence served absolutely no purpose in his life and hurt me, not him. Although this was refreshing compared to the strict attendance I faced in high school, I knew that this could get dangerous very quickly. It was here where I realized there is such a thing as too much freedom.
Finally, I didn’t realize that I would have so much downtime in college. My classes only took up about 3 hours in my day. The rest of the time I could do whatever I wanted to do, and I ended up just eating, sleeping, and watching Netflix all day. Sometimes, as terrible as this sounds, I would procrastinate to a point where I would forget to study. I always told myself I had enough time in the day and that I would be fine, but before I knew it, it would be 10PM, and I would be in bed in the midst of eating dinner when I realized that I had a paper due the next day at 2PM. Being productive in college was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
However, as I am now about halfway through my winter quarter, I realized college is really what you make of it. I decided to clean up my attitude and change for the better, whether it be eating right and working out or simply managing my time more efficiently and cutting down on Netflix, and I can honestly say, at this point in my life, college is everything I expected it to be and more, and I’ve never been happier.