5 Things I Didn't Expect About College

I'm just going to jump into this without a lengthy introduction.

So without further ado, here are things I didn't expect about my life at college: 

1) I have friends!  Haha!

Before coming to college, it’s difficult to imagine leaving all of your current friends and making entirely new ones. You spend kindergarten through high school – twelve years – trying to find where you belong and who understands you, and it seems impossible that you could undergo the same process from scratch in a matter of months. But there are several things that ease this process in college: (A) you picked a college that, out of all the other colleges you visited, felt right to you; (B) when you arrive at college, everyone is looking for friends; (C) there are a million and four events being planned every week that force you to mingle with boatloads of random folks, many of whom will be awesome; and (D) you can’t leave the social scene because all of your potential friends live in your house. And they’re everywhere else too! I mean, the campus is literally swarming with friend-candidates in the 18-22 age range. You can’t walk down the hall without bumping into a smiley possible friend. 

2) I can sleep in a lofted bed without rolling out in my sleep and crashing to my doom!

This might sounds stupid, but this was a genuine fear for me during my first few nights at Luther: what if I fall out of this bed? It’s a long way down. But so far, so good.  (Knock on wood.) 

3) The workload is not impossible, only different!

High school teachers often tell you that if you think you have a lot of work now, just wait until you get to college, because nobody will be holding your hand then! And while this is true – college is a lot of work, and much of it is independent work – the real challenge comes in pacing yourself, in my opinion. Because you only have the same classes every other day, the homework load is given accordingly, so, unlike in high school, it is more difficult to finish an assignment if you wait until the day before it is due. But in terms of the work itself, while it is often challenging, you are never completely on your own.  In my experience, if you need extra guidance, the professors are no less willing to help than high school teachers. In fact, it seems to make them very happy when you show enough interest in their subject to ask them more about it and try to learn it well.  Plus, there are tons of other resources as well. Free tutoring services are available, and the librarians at the research help desk are amazing at finding sources for papers and projects.  

4) Drinking and not drinking are both completely acceptable lifestyle options!

In movies and television shows, the image of college is often that of crazy partying, complete with strobe lights and “dancing” and lots and lots of booze. While I certainly don’t judge people in the party scene, my interests lie elsewhere. So, during high school, I was a bit concerned that college folks would think I was…I don’t know…a wimp, or a goody-two-shoes, or boring, or just…too sober. Luckily for me, that has not been the case at all. Can you go party with alcohol if you feel like it? Yes you can. But is there any peer pressure to drink/do drugs/etcetera?  Will you be a social pariah if you prefer orange juice to beer? Nope and nope. And if you’re interested in being on a wellness (substance-free) floor, that’s a great way to meet other people who want to have “good clean fun.” Luther is a place where you can have the college experience you want, whatever that may be. 

5) I have remained a functional human being!

In high school, it can be really weird envisioning yourself at a college – any college.  After a lifetime living at home with your family, the idea of living somewhere else is somewhat jarring. You wonder, what is this going to be like? Is it going to be like sleep-away camp? For four years  Like some sort of permanent slumber party, perhaps?  What if it’s like going to high school but never coming home to relax and unwind?  And how will the laundry machines work? What if I accidentally shrink all of my clothing in the wash and all I have left are kindergartener-sized outfits? And think about how germy a dorm must be!  Hundreds of kids in the same building without parents? Um, there are a million things that could go wrong there. How am I supposed to survive this?

Okay, maybe I was a little overstressed about college before my arrival here. Maybe you prospective students out there do not have these fears. But if you are even the teensiest bit nervous about what life at Luther is like, let me assuage your fears.  College is not like a sleepover. It will probably seem like a sleepover for the first few weeks because you are adjusting to sleeping in an unfamiliar place that doesn’t look, feel, or smell like home.  But you get used to it. And the laundry machines are really self-explanatory, for the most part. (For the one exception, see “The Epic Laundry Fiasco.”) As for germy dorms, I haven’t gotten sick once all year.

So what is the college experience like, if not sleep-deprived, laundry-confusion-filled, and germy? Well, it’s difficult to describe. It’s unlike anything you have encountered in your life heretofore. It is crazy and fun and fantastic and hilarious and enlightening and sometimes a little bit weird, in an endearing way. But honestly, I can’t really tell you what college is like; it’s different for everyone, and you’ll just have to experience it yourself.

Hopefully at Luther, whoop!

And now, I am going to go sleep. Yay!

This is a random picture I took of a sunrise over Brandt, because I didn't know what else to use as a picture for this post. But it's pretty, right?

{ Return to Jillian's Blog for more posts. }

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