Keah Brown is a self-professed Bibliophile who loves all things movies, music, TV, Books and social media. You name it, she’s on it. Her poetry has appeared in The Rain Party and Disaster Society Literary Magazine and is forthcoming in Cactus Heart Press Literary Magazine. She is a graduate of The State University of New York at Fredonia with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Creative Writing. She currently writes at Throwed Magazine about Culture, Art and Music and geeks4thewin.com about all things TV and film. Check her out on Twitter (@Keah_Maria) for her enthusiastic musings about cheesecake and the written word.
I remember getting my acceptance letter like it was yesterday; the big white envelope, Welcome! In gold lettering stamped across the front, my future school’s crest in the corner. I was so excited the whole neighborhood must have heard my scream. I had so many expectations as I’m sure all of you do, so I thought I’d compile a list of advice and tips on how to handle the crazy, exciting and scary transition from High School to College.
Expectation: Orientation is going to be so fun! It will be a weekend of a lifetime where you’ll make your lifelong friends, make eye contact with the cute boy or girl who is in your assigned group and participate in lots of fun games and activities.
Reality: I spent my orientation counting down the hours until I could go home. I ate lunch with a boy I didn’t know and his mother. My assigned roommate spent all night on the phone with her boyfriend who was already a student there and I was sick with the beginnings of the flu. I did make lifelong friends but not until the first week of school (we’ll get there.) orientation may be completely different for you but just remember, good or bad it does not define your future college experience. I talked to maybe two of the people I met at orientation in my four years at college and I still had a great four years.
The First Week Of Classes:
Expectation: The first week of classes isn’t that big of a deal. It’s my freshman year anyway and it’ll just be ice breakers and course overview.
Reality: While I had a few classes that were just ice breakers and syllabi handouts, a lot of my professors gave out homework. I believe that it is important to attend the first week of classes, partly because it is the first week of classes, but mostly because you learn a lot about your classmates and your professors. They will tell you what kind of work and quality of work they expect you to bring to class as well as, their grading scale and whether they choose to grade on a curve or not. Trust me, whether they grade on a curve or not is important. The professors will also give you an overview of the course so that you can plan ahead for big projects, tests or papers.
Expectation: after my experience with orientation, I believed that making friends in college is going to be even harder than the actual work. I was convinced that nobody would like me or get my humor and they would think I was weird.
Reality: I made some of my best friends who I still talk to every day two years after graduating college. I went away to school so living in a dorm was a really great help. I walked down the hall and introduce myself to each girl who answered the door and the rest is history. They like me and think my jokes are funny, sometimes. One thing that I’ve learned is that it’s okay to be a little weird.
Going home for break:
Expectation: I’m going to go home and see all my old friends, they are going to welcome me back with open arms. It’ll be like I never left and we will just jump right in as if no time has passed at all.
Reality: unfortunately, that’s not always how things work out. At 18, it was a bit naïve of me to think that the world just stopped when I went away to school. People change and grow, your friends will change and grow and sometimes, the friends that you thought you’d be friends with forever you have outgrown. It may not be like in high school when you can pinpoint the moment that you stop being as close as you were; these things just happen. However, there are friends that distance can’t break. They will be the friends that you truly have forever.
My final advice to you is to take the change as it comes. There will be days when you want to go home, where you will have to deal with bad test grades and weird cafeteria food, fights with your roommate or significant other but take the change as it comes. Remember: you are allowed to have bad days and good ones. You are allowed to feel everything even if it is all at once. Whatever you do, stay true to who you are. I know it sounds cheesy like an after school special that you’ve heard a thousand times but it is true. If you stay true to who you are and hold on to what you believe in the rest will come and you will have a great college experience.
Good luck out there!