Top 5 Things To Know About College

As a senior, I’ve become a bit savvier when it comes to school than I was as a wee little freshman.  I thought I knew what to expect from college.

After all, we’ve all seen “Old School” and “Animal House.”  But there are 5 things to know about college that would have really done me some good to know ahead of time:

1. These movies are totally unrealistic.

Maybe it was because I wasn’t a member of a fraternity, but these classic college movies are not accurate depictions of college life.  When I was in middle school and saw “She’s All That,” I was really excited to start high school and attend a house party that had music bumping and people crammed in from wall to wall.  That never happened.  Most high school parties were ten kids in a parents basement.  Same with college.  Toga parties aren’t an every weekend thing, and hazing is illegal.  If you go into college thinking this is what college life is like, you’ll get a lot more studying done than you anticipate.

2. Just because you took 6 classes in high school, does not mean you can in college.

I’m not necessarily saying high school is easy.  Because when you’re at that level of education, it is tough.  But six classes a day aren’t unmanageable.  In college, it’s a lot tougher.  The course load is denser, professors are stricter, and there are no loop holes like the ones you can find in high school.  If an assignment is due that day, it’s due that day.  No “I forgot it on my desk” or “my printer isn’t working” excuses are going to help.  Yeah, it’s possible to take 18 credit hours, but don’t start your first semester off like that.

3. You’re on your own… kind of.

Whether you’re living on campus or at home, students tend to have this mentality of “hey, I’m on my own now. I’m an adult.”  And you sort of are.  But not really.  Of course, it depends on each person’s situation.  But the majority of students that live at home still have their parents paying for their food and necessities, and the majority of students that live on campus still come home for the summer.  Yes, you do have a new found independence, but don’t get cocky.  You might still need your parent’s help.

4. Go to class.

I wasn’t an avid skipper in high school.  I knew I would have to make up the work, so I didn’t usually bother skipping class, except for the occasional day where it’s still dark when your alarm goes off and your bed is so warm that you can’t imagine getting out of bed and braving the day.

Well, in college, get out of bed and hike across campus and brave the day.  Professor’s lectures are crucial to understanding the material, and many of them will even dock you participation points for skipping class. After all, you’re paying for those classes, get the most out of them!

5. Pay attention to your student loans.

“Out of sight, out of mind,” was my motto when I first began taking out loans.  I didn’t want to know anything about the pile of debt that would be waiting for me when I graduated.  So I just accepted my full loans at the beginning of the semester and called it a day.

The next semester, I got a huge refund check, which seemed awesome, until I remembered that I was paying interest on the loans that I hadn’t even used.  So the next year, I took out less.  And owed the school a lot more money than I’d expected.  I put that off, and had to pay late fees on top of that.

Do yourself a favor…do a little bit of math, and pay attention to to how much loan money you’ve needed in the past.  You don’t want to take out more than you have to, but you don’t want to owe out-of-pocket money either.

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Carmen Bojanowski

Carmen Bojanowski

Carmen Bojanowski is a senior at Eastern Michigan University, double majoring in journalism and communications. She writes for her college newspaper, mostly covering local bands and interns at 89x, a metro-Detroit radio station. She frequents the movie theater and when she has free time, she likes spend it with her friends. Carmen hopes to one day be a music journalist.