Having completed my first year at Transy, it’s safe to say that there things I wished I’d known. Sure, in my final months of high school, everyone from teachers and friends to parents and principals were eager to impart their “wise” advice; however, there is still much that I have learned that they could’ve never predicted.
1. You’re not special.
Don’t get me wrong, I get it. In high school, you were class president and an all-star athlete who also play three different instruments, while simultaneously maintaining a 4.0 GPA. In your parent’s eyes, there was never a question as to whether or not you would get into the college of your dreams. It’s a harsh reality, but once on campus you’ll realize that not only did everyone else work as hard, if not harder, to get into your college, but no one really cares about who you were in high school. No one will care about your ACT score or how many extracurriculars you did. While you may have done some extraordinary things in high school, this is college and it’s time for you to essentially start over.
2. Being away from home is hard.
If you had told me this my senior year of high school, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have laughed in your face. Having spent my entire life in a tiny town in Western Kentucky, I was more than ready for a change…or so I thought. While I absolutely love Transy and could never regret my decision, being over 3 ½ hours from home is certainly more difficult than I ever imagined. While I don’t want to come home every weekend to do laundry, it would be nice to be able to come home to see my dog or be there for more family events without a 7 hour round trip.
3. It’s college, classes will be challenging.
Coming from a small public school, it took little to no effort on my part to maintain my 4.0 GPA; however, at college, that is certainly not the case. Attending a college as academically stimulating as Transy, I’ve found that I am pushed to think more in depth and challenge many of my shortsighted beliefs, all in the spirit of learning. But hey, that’s what college is all about! College isn’t supposed to be a do-over for high school. Be ready to spend a lot of time studying!
4. Making real friends in college takes time.
Freshman orientation is a blurry of activity. In all of the madness surrounding your first few weeks on campus you’ll likely latch on to a few companions. Sure it’ll be great for the first few weeks, maybe even a month; however, you may find yourself in a situation six or seven weeks down the road where even passing this person on the sidewalk is uncomfortable. This situation happens frequently on college campuses. While I am by no means advocating becoming a hermit during your college years, finding true friends who will be there for you through thick and thin often takes more than a few days time.
5. Your professors have office hours…use them!
I had heard it from all directions. From tour guides, and my older sister, to teachers and guidance counselors, but I had always brushed it off. From several of my friends attending different colleges I heard excuse after excuse of why they hadn’t been to office hours. They don’t know where their office is, they’re too busy, they’re doing fine in the class. Excuses gradually built up and before they knew it, it was the end of the semester and they were panicking about their final grades. At Transy, I have thankfully never had a reason for such excuses. All of my professors have been exceedingly helpful in arranging meetings as they have been needed.
6. You lose touch with people you think you will always be friends with
While graduation is an opportune time to say farewell to your frenemies, few of us see t as a farewell to our “best friends forever”. Sadly, for many of us, daily texts and weekly Facetime sessions with our BFFs gradually turn into the occasional Facebook message and at best, an hour-long catch-up session over winter break. College is a big adjustment for everyone and your priorities are different from what they were when you graduated high school.
7. All tours show the cleanest and best dorm rooms!
Talk to students at your future college. Research the dorm rooms so you know what awaits you in the fall.
8. Mistakes happen.
There will be tests that you flub up on, papers you forget about, and quizzes you just don’t have time to study for. Bottom line: you will “fail”. But you have to remember to pick yourself back up, study harder, and learn more. Mistakes are how we learn, and college—especially Transy—is about learning in the classroom and beyond. While these 8 bits of advice may seem very daunting, college is an exciting time in your life which should not be met with fear, but rather excitement. As you prepare to head to college, talk to upperclassmen, facebook and twitter creep on current students to see what they have to say about their college, and most importantly, ask questions!