What To Expect: 7 College Myths?

What stereotypes of college run through your head?  Here we will test out 7 common college myths.

1. You Don’t Have To Go To Class

Yes, you may be out from under your parents’ roof and have the freedom to choose whether to ‘go to school’ or not, but that doesn’t mean that there are no consequences in life anymore!  Above all else, the very first step to have success in college is to show up to class and pay attention.  Upon graduation with a less than mediocre GPA, you be not be so happy about skipping chemistry class every Monday morning to feed your Starbucks addiction.

2. College Is A Party Everyday

There are a rare few on campus that well fit the Hollywood stereotype of a party-crazed college student waking up at 4 PM each day only to revive the ‘party’ soon thereafter.  But, this is not the norm.  In fact, the ‘college party’ is not as common as some may think.  What is common is classes, dorm room and dining hall hang outs with friends, clubs, and activities.  Believe me, these norms are much more beneficial to your future self than the party scene.

3. Freshman 15

As long as you aren’t ‘partying’ everyday (which you shouldn’t) and you are going to class everyday (which you should), the Freshman 15 is not that difficult to avoid.  This is because you have to walk everywhere on campus, which is a good thing!  Walking to class and other activities is healthy and a great way to get outside.  Enjoy your daily walks and appreciate the exercise!

4. Professors Are Your Enemy

Film scenes like to pin the student against the professor in a challenge of intellect and impossible assignments.  This is simply not true; many professors truly care for their students and want to see them all succeed.  Even if you do not agree with your professor on every point, it is often easy to find common respect.  One thing heard all over campus is complaining about professors.  This really is a waste of time and energy; try not to get caught up in this worthless mumbo jumbo.

5. College Kids Are Lazy

Lazy is a relative term, and some will forever see college students as lazy no matter what.  But, this doesn’t mean that their beliefs have to be your reality.  Classes, homework, exams, and campus activities keep your calendar well stocked.  Many college students have part time jobs, participate in undergraduate research, or complete internships.  Get out there and find something that can keep you from complacency and boost your resume.  You should be adding levels of responsibility to your plate each year in college so that you are prepared for life beyond graduation.

6. Once A Geek, Always A Geek

…while this is still a myth, it is a good myth!  On a college campus, ‘geeks’ can be rockstars.  This isn’t high school anymore.  It seems social standings matter much less on a college campus.  Plus, landing major money from a government agency for a research project on the latest development in biomimicry science is COOL!  College is much less about how cool you act and much more about participating in the bigger picture of college life.


For me, this was absolutely TRUE!  Pizza was everywhere on campus and often the meal of choice on Friday and Saturday night.  Then again, this may not be true for everyone.  But, you will probably see signs all over campus offering ‘FREE PIZZA!’ when you show up to a particular event.  Let’s just say that I was a huge supporter of on-campus meetings and events…



What To Expect Your Freshman Year In College – Part 2 With BONUS!

… later you find yourself at the library, student center, and the athletic dorm?? …you get the picture.

Every student inevitably carries expectations and preconceived notions about college with them when they first arrive.  Our perception of college is shaped by many things like older siblings, friends, popculture, or our parents.  But, what should you really be expecting to experience on a daily basis during your freshman year?  We’ve compiled some thoughts and (possibly more) realistic expectations to consider when you first arrive on campus.  This being part 2 of this mini-series, be sure to read Part 1.

Classes Are The Same But Different

You will find that your college classes are very different from your high school ones in some ways, but you will also find that they can be very similar.  Let’s look at some differences and similarities.

Expect Nothing Two Classes To Be The Same

College classes can be very unpredictable.  They can be fast paced or boringly slow.  They can be extremely hard or extremely easy.  No two classes will be the same, so expect to know very little about the class when sitting down for the first lecture of the semester.  The best way to get the inside scoop on a particular class is to talk with students who have completed it in previous semesters.  Even then, be prepared for anything.  You might have to step up your game or change the way you work to succeed in a particular class.  In high school, you may have been able to apply basically the same study and class skills to every class and be successful.  This may not be the case in college!

Expect To Be Bored At Times

Even though college, including the classes, can be very exciting at times, some things about ‘school’ never change.  You may just find yourself bored at your desk (hard to imagine, right?).  The bright sunshine and colorful leaves out the window will still capture your attention greater than the invigorating, 10 year old PowerPoint presentation currently being read in monotone slide by slide… don’t get me started on professors who still use overhead projectors (if you even know what that is anymore).  All of this will happen, and it will be OK.  Just refocus, plan a time in your head later in the day to take a nice walk outside or setup your hammock, and ignore that glorious window for now in order to make it through your lecture.  Lastly, don’t get mad at yourself for being bored; that only distracts you further!  Accept if for what it is, and try to push through to still be successful in the class.  You will thank yourself come final exam time.

Expect This ONE BIG DIFFERENCE: The Professor Variable

If there is one thing I can say about succeeding in your classes as well as a difference from high school classes, it is that your professor can make or break your class.  Your professor can make your life awesome or miserable in many ways.  They can be a great or awful lecturer.  The can be generous or stingy with points on graded assignments.  They can be loose or extremely particular about formatting on assignments.  They can assign a lot of small grades throughout the course or just one massive group project for the whole semester (I still have recurring nightmares of this scenario)!  WHICH PROFESSOR YOU CHOOSE MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE.  Often times, in your junior and senior level classes, you don’t have a choice of professor; you are stuck with whomever is gifted to you.  But, in your classes as a frosh or sophomore, you will likely have many options.  Talk with students who are older than you and look on professor rating sites.  Be prepared when it comes time to register for classes, and try to get the professor that YOU WANT!

…  later you find yourself at the library, student center, and the athletic dorm?? …you get the picture.

College Camp or College Life?

You are in a new environment. New campus, new room, new roommate, new dining table, new… EVERYTHING!  It will take some getting used to.  Expect to be homesick.  Change is challenging sometimes.  Homesickness is very, very common to most every college freshman.  Don’t ignore the feeling; but instead, live in the feeling and acknowledge it.  Tell yourself, ‘this is normal’, and then tell yourself, ‘this too shall pass’.  Here are somethings to expect that can help you be prepared when this feeling arrives.

Expect To Feel Like A Camper

Have you ever been to a summer camp?  All new faces, new bed, new dining table, new schedule, new… EVERYTHING!  Sound familiar?  College, at first, can feel a lot like camp.  This is a good thing for a while until you suddenly feel like you’ve been at camp for too long.  But, this camp doesn’t end!  This is where the homesickness sets in.  Recognize the ‘camp’ feeling upfront and begin to buffer your mind with the thought that this isn’t  camp and this is instead your new life.  Just being able to think about this slowly will help reduce the shock (and ultimately homesickness) of staying at college all year long.

Expect To Feel Like An Outsider Until You Don’t

College campuses often have a great vibe to them.  There is art, science, and philosophy colliding all over campus.  People are outside meeting with each other and enjoying shared spaces.  And, as a large part of the vibe, college campuses are a big community of people that all have one thing in common… this particular college is ‘home’.  Early in your freshman year, your college may not feel like home to you because it is so new and different.  Unfortunately, the same ‘home’ feeling that often connects students can be alienating to those that do not quite share that feeling yet.  But, don’t fret!  One day, you will be walking into your dorm building for the 356th time or you will be making your way across campus, and you will suddenly feel ‘home’.  This is truly a great feeling.  So, expect to feel like an outsider for a while… until you don’t!

BONUS – Invest In Some Walking Shoes

A university may be the epitome of cutting edge and advanced theory, but you will find certain things about college are as old as time itself.  One thing in particular… getting things done around campus.  Expect to be sent all over campus for just about everything.  Say you need to get proof of attendance at the university for your parent’s health insurance… easy enough right?  Wrong. Expect that operation to take ALL DAY.  You will first go to the registrar’s office and stand in line for 1.5 hours.  When you finally make it to the counter, you will be told you need a signature from your academic adviser.  You walk to your adviser’s office; she is not available until 2 hours later.  You wander around campus for 2 hours then show up to your adviser’s office.  You wait an extra 30 minutes outside her door because she still isn’t there.  When she arrives, you wait 30 more minutes for her to ‘get settled’.  Then finally, she tells you that you need to fill out a form on the university website…  later you find yourself at the library, student center, and the athletic dorm?? …you get the picture.  I cannot tell you how many times this happened to me in college.  You will be on campus tracking this down ALL DAY, so just expect it.

What to Expect Your Freshman Year in College – Part 1

Every student inevitably carries expectations and preconceived notions about college with them when they first arrive.  Our perception of college is shaped by many things like older siblings, friends, popculture, or our parents.  But, what should you really be expecting to experience on a daily basis during your freshman year?  We’ve compiled some thoughts and (possibly more) realistic expectations to consider when you first arrive on campus.  Be sure to catch Part 2 of this series!

It’s Normal to Take a While to Find Your Groove

Entering college as a freshman is an enormous life change.  You can expect a lot of confusing feelings, new difficulties, and some time required to get settled in.  Here are several things that can be confusing and may take you a while to find that new groove.

Finding Your ‘Group’

Finding your main group of friends is important in college just as it was in high school.  Sure, you want to make many friends in classes, clubs, and intramurals, but you will most likely settle into a small group of friends that you hang out with day in and day out.  Lacking a solid group at first can be unnerving.  But, be aware that every other freshman is suffering with the same issues!  It took me well into my sophomore year to really feel like my main friend group began to truly gel.  So, understand that things, especially friendships, take time to develop.  Try to be patient and make friends in your dorm, classes, and elsewhere.  Likely, your ‘group’ will find you, not the other way around!

Expect to Be Confused

Where do I register for classes?  How do I get tickets to the big game?  What do I need to take to the gym with me?  What building is this again?  How did I get lost for the third time this week?  You WILL be confused.  Many, many times.  So, don’t worry about it; it is completely normal!  When you are confused, ask a friend of yours in the dorm.  Likely, they are just as confused as you.  If you and your buddy still can’t figure it out, ask your RA.  Practice not being afraid to ask. It is better to get over that fear as soon as possible, because learning to ask is one thing you will need a lot in college, your future career, and also the rest of your life.  Listen, if you are like me then you will do way more embarrassing things then asking a question… like when I sat in the wrong classroom. I was too afraid to ask at the beginning of the class, so I just had to wait out the entire class when I figured out that it was the wrong one.  Don’t be like me!

Expect to Be Yourself

Lastly on finding your groove, be yourself.  Yes, I realize that ‘be yourself’ is probably the most cliché phrase of all cliché phrases.  But, it is true, and I don’t feel like trying to come up with a different way to say it (I am practicing being myself).

You finally have your freedom!  Your schedule and time is whatever you make of it!  You can wear whatever you want to wear!  You can eat whatever and whenever you wish!  Find your groove by doing what you want.  Don’t feel pressured by others or what you might see on T.V. to act or be a certain way.  Wear the clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident about yourself.  Participate in the activities that you enjoy and do not compromise your comfort levels.  With all of this newfound freedom, there can be a push and an expectation to go crazy.  But, take it from those that have come before, just take some deep breaths and relax a little bit.  You will certainly enjoy your college years much more if you are much less concerned with others’ expectations.

What to Expect from Your Dorm Life

Dorm life is major part of the freshman experience.  You may live off campus the rest of your college years, but you cannot fully appreciate living in that lap of luxury without first experiencing the lack of luxury in the dorm.  There is some truth to this indeed, but dorm life can actually be really great!  It is very easy to become close with friends because you are forced to be  physically close to them And, there is always something going on.  The following are some things to expect when it comes to the details of living in a dorm room.

Expect to Be Friends With Your Roommate

You and your roommate may become best friends or you may not necessarily spend a ton of time together.  Either way, you will see each other quite a lot.  If you and your roommate become friends on any level, your dorm life will be exponentially better!  My freshman roommate and I were very different, and we were not absolute best buds.  But, we were still friends and enjoyed sharing a room all the same.  What made this work well was a general respect for each other as well as a friendly disposition.  So, make every effort to be friends with your roommate at least on some level.  The easiest way to do this is to go eat meals at the dining hall together.  Something about sharing meals together always brings people together.  Plus, other friends can come along that will break the awkwardness of being together alone in a tiny dorm room.

One more note on your roommate situation… Even if you and your roommate become BFFs, you are likely to get annoyed at each other.  Heck, in that tiny amount of space, I become annoyed at myself!  When this happens, first take a deep breath and go for a walk.  Consider why you are annoyed and how you may be able to help the situation yourself without blaming your roommate.  Simply getting out of your room for a little while can do wonders for your level of acceptance.  If needed, discuss the issue with your roommate with as much respect as possible.  Try not to blame them, but instead focus on how the situation makes you feel.  Offer to help improve the situation with something that you can do instead of just asking them to change.  A general level of respect and understanding can go a long way in these situations!  Don’t pretend you didn’t learn the golden rule in Kindergarten either!

Expect To Develop Mutual Respect for Your RA

RAs are often stereotyped as the enemy of college freshman.  Listening around every corner trying to catch students having too much fun is the common theme.  But, the reality is that RAs can be really cool.  After all, they are college students too.  Remember that your RA has a job to do though.  You can make your RA’s job easy or hard.  Likewise, your RA can make your life easy or a nightmare.  The best way to keep things fun and easy is developing a mutual respect with your RA.  Follow their guidelines when it is truly important, and they are likely to turn a blind eye to you and your roommate pulling your mattresses out of your room to slide down the 2 story stairwell.

Expect to Sleep in Your Dorm Room, Not Live There

Dorm rooms are tiny.  Which is not always fun, but it can be good thing.  You don’t want to be spending all of your time there anyway!  You need to be outside making new friends and trying new things.  Go for walks, tag along on a weekend road trip, or simply go explore a new building on campus.  All in all, expect to not be in your dorm room much; you have a bed in there and not much else for a good reason.


Hopefully, this has allowed you to understand some realistic expectations for dorm life and general college living.  Be sure to check out part 2 on what to expect in your classes and more!

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