10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting College

1. People are still immature.

You know how you think everyone will just magically grow up in those two months between graduating high school and moving into college? Well, sorry to break it to you, but that assumption is wrong. If anything, kids become less mature because it is the first taste of freedom they have ever had. I know it may seem out there, but not having your parents around 24/7 to tell you when you have to be home and what is and isn't acceptable, is kind of really nice. It all comes down to one of two things happening; either kids accept the freedom as a responsibility and act like an adult or they take advantage of the freedom and go absolutely nuts. Usually the kids who participate in the latter drop out after the first semester or get taken away in a $2,000 ambulance ride. Freedom is what you make of it, end of story.


2. Dorm life isn't all it is cracked up to be.


After spending a semester in a dorm that was so far away it might as well have been off campus, a leaky sink, a broken heater during the cold winter months, multiple break-ins and stolen property, it is safe to say that the idea of living in a dorm has been somewhat spoiled for me. I can't count the times I've complained about how living in a 19x12 room with another person is nearly impossible and more than anything, expensive. One thing I suggest to incoming college students is check out all your options. Sure, living in a dorm is an experience but it is also stressful and frustrating. Some people can do it but from the twin XL beds to not having enough storage for all your crap, it is definitely a culture shock to many.


3. Things can get very awkward.


There will always be that one time you go to a frat party and end up staying the night in a girl's room who you met that night and then she has sex with someone in front of you. Okay, maybe not that exact situation will happen to you but these things do happen! You may meet someone, develop feelings for them and then later figure out what a total douche they are and then the friendship hangs in a weird limbo. Everyone has the capacity to make a situation awkward and when you go to school with thousands of people there are plenty of people to be awkward with or share an awkward experience with. My advice? There's no way around these types of situations so acknowledge that these things do happen and embrace it because how many times in your life can you have an irresponsible one night stand or go on a really bad first date to Taco Bell? Probably a lot, but do it while your only responsibility is passing your Psych 101 class.


4. Teachers DO take attendance.


Another assumption; you can skip classes whenever you'd like with no repercussions. Nowadays, most universities are making it policy that all 100 and 200 level classes have to take regular attendance. Most classes give you "free absences". Some give out one, some give out five, but after those, you lose anywhere from five points to 10% of your grade for a single absence. You would think that because you are paying for the class you can choose if and when you want to go but the world of universities doesn't always work like that. So go to class.


5. You don't always get into the classes you want.


Believe it or not, you don't actually get to take all these fun and super cool classes when you want to. The way it usually works is that after a semester, the upper class men get first choice of classes in order to graduate on time and then we lowly freshmen are left with the not-so-great classes; i.e. Humanities 175. It is super cool to pick a major and look at all these classes that interest you but when your time slot comes up, you better have made back-up plans. You'll get to take those classes someday I promise.


6. You have to fight to get things done.


After living in a dorm that was not ideal and broken, I learned that if I want to get anything fixed or done, you have to be persistent, obnoxious and maybe even a little bitchy. I've never wanted to be that person who makes someone else's day tough because you call and scream about a broken heater, but sometimes that is what it takes to get the repairmen to haul their asses up that treacherous one flight of stairs. If someone owes you money, get it back. If something is in worse condition than it should be, get it fixed. Taking control like this is a skill you will need for the future and pushing around a few university faculty members can teach you really quickly how to get what you want.


7. You have a lot of free time.


Although college is a big adjustment, it takes about a month, tops, to get down your schedule and figure out a way to manage all your classes. If you had any sort of advanced classes in high school, you will be absolutely over the moon when you realize that most normal college classes are five times easier than your AP US History class from junior year. And with the ability to arrange your schedule exactly the way you want it, you can usually get a Friday, or even a Monday, off all together. With so much time on your hands, you have to figure out how much time to devote to your schoolwork, how much time to devote to Netflix and how much time to devote to your social life. If I had known this last semester, I probably could have gotten a job, but who needs money anyways?


8. You don't have to know what you want to do.


In high school there is always the stress of figuring out what you want to major in but I know sometimes you question whether or not you even want to go to college. There really is plenty of time for this even if it seems like everyone else already has their entire life planned out to a "t". There's no seminar or workshop that will tell you what you should be in life so you just have to roll with it until you find something that you really like to do. I would've never been an English major had I not taken the standard English 105 class first semester. You never know when you'll figure out your life, so why freak out about it now?


9. Partying isn't a sin.


It is more like a right of passage. Of course there are better ways to do it, but if you don't try it at least once, you are missing out on a huge part of college. I'm not promoting alcoholism or anything like that, but it is really just a fun social event. In fact, I've made a lot of good friends by just letting loose and having fun. There is nothing wrong with experiencing this part of life and it is healthy to get out every now and again. You just have to learn your limits, remember that school comes first and beware of drunk texting. Oh, and don't get caught.


10. Nothing is "free" (not even the t-shirts).


Upon entering college you will hear all of the "free" gimmicks that will help involve you in campus life but, if we're being honest, they aren't actually free. If you look at the break-down of your semester payment you see a nice little fee for a couple hundred dollars and that ladies and gentlemen is how they pay for the "free" shirts, concerts and movie showings. Although you are paying for it, it is fun to imagine that a school you are paying thousands of dollars to per semester is giving you one thing on them, even if it is a $10 cotton t-shirt.