College 411: 5 Blunt and Honest Truths About College

I want to be honest with you. If you’re on your way to becoming a high school graduate then college is not too far away.

People say that the summer after you graduate high school is always the best summer and I’m here to say that it’s completely true. Enjoy this coming summer, a time of freedom, careless fun, no responsibilities and the excitement of going to college.

Once you get to college everything is going to be very different. There are a few things I would like to warn you of and prepare you for before you first step into a college classroom. Here’s the college 411:

1. This Isn’t High School

I put this as #1 because I feel that this is the most important fact to take in. Now, I’m sure people have told you over and over that college is harder than high school. What they don’t tell you is how much harder it is. College is very hard. Do not forget that. You will have to work that hardest that you ever have in your whole life, well until you get into the real world. Basically, life just gets harder and harder once you graduate high school.

In high school, teachers go easy on you and give you tons of extensions, extra-credit, and sympathize if you get sick or are tired. Do not make the mistake that teachers in college will be the same.

If you miss an assignment, they will not give you a chance to red-do it again. If your grades are suffering because of your lack of participation class, they will not give you extra-credit. If you feel sick and want to leave class, they will not care. If you skip a class because you were tired or sick, you will be expected to know everything that was missed and to have whatever was assigned completed and efficiently done by the next class.

There also may be times when the work load for all of your classes is just completely overwhelming. Do you think your teachers will go easy on you? No, they won’t. They don’t care about your workload, your schedule or whatever else you have going on outside of class. Not only do they expect you to get all the work and studying done, but they expect you to always go the extra mile in your work, to do extra studying outside of class, and to always be ready for class participation.

Basically, if you’ve been complaining through high school that you hate being treated like a baby then don’t worry. College will make your wish come true. If you wanted to be treated like an adult, you got it.

2. Laundry

Make sure you know how to do laundry before you come to school. I’m sure there are plenty of you who have never done their own laundry before. Now, don’t feel ashamed. I never did my laundry before coming to college either.

However, I can’t stress to you enough how important it is to know how to do laundry. Unless you want your clothes to be covered in bleach stains, turn pink or shrink then yeah, I guess this isn’t such a priority to you. Otherwise, learn what to wash, what to hand wash, what to separate, the water temperature to use, etc.

3. Conserve the Green!

The Green a.k.a money is going to start becoming much more important to you as a college student. You’re going into the years of independence and responsibility and it really is of vital importance that you know how to save up money and only use it whenever it’s completely necessary.

For most of you, it’s only four years until you’ll be out of college and into the real world and then you’ll be on your own and you’ll need to learn to stand on your own feet. So, unless your parents plan to pay for you as an adult and have mercy for you whenever you feel like going on a spontaneous shopping spree for new clothes or video games, then I’d suggest you practice on saving money now.

4. You’re On Your Own

You’re not living under your parent’s roof anymore and while you may or may not be thrilled about that fact, living on your own is a big change. It’s true, that for most of you, you’ll have a roommate but that doesn’t change anything.

You’ll still have to be just as independent as you would be if you were living completely alone. You need to learn to take care of yourself. It’s time to get in the habit of picking up after yourself, cleaning, making sure you eat right, keeping yourself healthy, staying fit and time managing yourself.

Most importantly, your mom or dad won’t be there anymore to yell at you to do your homework and go to class so you need to take over the responsibility of making sure you get your homework done on time and actually attend classes.

5.  Don’t Forget Why You’re Here!

Besides work and classes, college is full of so much life and activity. There’s always something to do on campus or if you happen go to college in cities like Boston, LA, Chicago and New York, there’s always something to do off campus, as well!

College is full of distractions; all of them are awesome distractions but distractions nonetheless. Please, do not lose sight of why you went to college in the first place which, I assume, is to learn about your passions and hone your skills that will turn into a totally awesome career post-graduation.

Don’t let social activities or peer-pressure from your friends drive you away from all that. Never feel bad about the decision to stay in on a weekend in order to finish homework assignments. Yeah you’re friends will complain about it and will probably say things along the lines of “You’re missing out! It’s going to be so fun!” I can promise you with complete certainty that there will be so many great nights and events to go to at college. You won’t be missing anything. Take the time to be selfish and do what’s best for your and your success in college.

Remember to keep all this advice in mind when entering college and honestly, you should try to keep it with you always. I promise it will all be helpful  to know throughout college. When the day comes that you first walk in to those college doors, you’ll be ready to take on whatever college throws at you!

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Nina Reichenberg, a junior at Syracuse University spent her first two years in the Communications Design Program but is now currently working towards a degree in Computer Art & Animation. Whilst at school, Nina spends most of her time animating, watching films, and working as a design intern at SYR Outside of SU, she enjoys traveling, singing, dancing, spending time outside and collecting thimbles.

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