College: Expectations vs Reality

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Student Lifehacks
expectations and reality of college life

So, you just completed high school and are looking forward to College, huh? I bet you’re as excited as a clam at high water. The endless freedom, no more piles of homework, fun parties, and let’s not forget an awesome roommate who will end up being your partner in crime. Yes, so many things to look forward to. I bet you’ve seen enough movies and TV Shows that give the idea that college is gonna be the best 4 years of your life, but you shouldn’t get your hopes too high. Don’t get me wrong, your time in college is definitely gonna be an unforgettable one, but it’s always best to be prepared so that you don’t face utter heartbreaking disappointment. So here are a few expectations vs reality of starting college.


Expectation  — You’re gonna learn something new today, subjects entirely different from the ones you were taught in high school. Your teachers are gonna be really cool and smart and stuff. You promise yourself that you’re going to be very attentive and pay close attention to everything the teacher is gonna say. Take lots of notes and read about it later when you get home. It’s gonna be absolutely exciting!

Reality  —  What is the teacher even talking about?! You’re finding it hard to keep up because it’s just too much information and you can’t take it all in. Plus if you’re the type to get distracted very easily and get lost in your thoughts, well, it’s gonna be even harder. The teacher just keeps talking and talking with no pause, like how does he expect you to keep up? Does he even have a heart?! And then there’s homework to read 200 pages before next week. At the end of the day, you’re exhausted and just wanna go home. But you can still make this day positive and memorable — just follow these tips for freshmen.


College: Expectations vs Reality 1
Picture of multiethnic group of young cheerful students standing outdoors. Looking camera.

Expectation  —  College is the place where you meet new people practically every day. You’re gonna meet people from different backgrounds and it’s not gonna be like in high school where students have their own cliques and you need to have the same interests in order to interact with them. Everyone is open to new acquaintances, they’re friendly, and are always ready to lend a helping hand, especially to freshmen.

Reality  —  Weelllllllll, during the first days of college some people are rather reserved or nervous and they all just want to get through the first day in peace. They might not open up to you on the first day so you need to give it time. As for cliques, sorry, but high school is not the only place where they exist.


That is if you decide not to stay off-campus.

Expectation  —  We all dream of that ideal roommate that becomes our partner in crime and venture off with on fun-filled college shenanigans. You don’t have to share the same interest but at least respect each other and their personal space. You can share absolutely anything with this person to the point that he/she starts to feel like your brother/sister.

Reality  —  Well, not everyone is that lucky. College is the place where you learn to deal with people and their sometimes detestable behaviors. At some point, you will face the “roommate situation”. It’s completely unavoidable. You and your roommate won’t always see eye to eye, he/she might have a different sleep schedule that interferes with yours, an entirely different outlook on personal hygiene or might just be plain nasty. It’s one of those things we go through in college. You’re just gonna have to deal with it. Or find another roommate. Or live off campus. 🙂


Expectation  —  It’s college, and we’re adults now. Surely they can’t even think to give us home assignments. Besides, homework is for kids in high school. As a college student, I’m gonna have endless free hours to myself that I can use for my personal development or just chill with friends. And I can forget about buying those ridiculously expensive textbooks!

Reality  —  It’s 1 AM and you’re in the library trying to read a 200 page textbook for a class that’s due in a couple of hours and you can’t remember the last time you got some decent sleep. As for free time for personal development  —  now that’s just a myth. 🙂 You should really work on acquiring your personal strategies of keeping up with college homework — take this task seriously. And yes, you need a lot of textbooks to survive through your years at college, and experienced students know that you can buy or rent textbooks cheaply with BooksRun.

Don’t expect your college experience to be laid out all smooth and nice for you the first day you step foot on campus. It can be really tough, but your chances of gaining an unforgettable experience lie in your ability to make the most of your time in college. Get involved in clubs and organizations, strike up conversations with new people, create a balance between your academics and your social life. Before you know it you’d have gotten used to college life. College is what you make of it, so have fun while it lasts!

Iliana K