Movies such as The Social Network, The Internship and Legally Blonde might depict college as a period of fun, freedom and… well, fun! You’re finally free to do what you like without your parents looking over your shoulder, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to expand your social circle beyond that of your school. Imagine all the friendships you’d forge, the cool things you’d be doing with your new pals and all the fun times you’d be having! While that may be the case, oftentimes, it is the numerous assignments, projects and examinations, as well as having to get used to handling everything on your own that will take up most of your time. As such, it helps if you’re prepared for college life and know what to expect.
Here are some of the things that you’ll have to get used to:
1. Being responsible
This means being responsible for all areas of your life, from your studies and the way you live your life, to your finances and household chores. If your teachers used to spoon-feed you in school when it came to homework and exam revisions, get used to having no such thing at college. Do not wait for for your lecturers to remind you to submit your assignment, but take the initiative to come to classes, complete your assignments in a timely manner, and look for them during academic hours if you need more help or clarification. The onus is on you to do your own research, look for other academic resources beyond what is given during lectures, and make use of the facilities at college to aid your understanding of the subject matter. It may feel overwhelming at first, but you’ll get the hang of it eventually. Being responsible also extends to your social life. A little fun is alright, but remember, moderation is the way to go here – focus on your studies on weekdays and have some good, clean fun over the weekend.
2. Depending on yourself for almost everything
In your first few months of living away from home, you might find yourself running out of toiletries and groceries, and most times, it would be because you simply forgot to stock up. And if you’re the type that learns quickly that mummy dearest won’t be around to pick up after you and your dirty laundry, you’d save yourself the trouble of having nothing to wear for Monday morning’s lecture because you ran out of clean clothes! Taking inspiration from Spiderman, understand that with freedom comes responsibility. Just like individuals who run afoul of the law, those who are irresponsible will have their privileges revoked! To get your life back on track, draw up a schedule for everything that needs to be done weekly. Review your weekly college schedule and take note of the days that are free of lectures or tutorials, then slot in the tasks you need to do, e.g. getting toiletries, stocking up the fridge, doing the laundry, and managing mealtimes and household chores. Keeping to a daily schedule allows you to get things done on time, every time, and free up your weekends for some fun in the sun! Also, the feeling of accomplishment you get from being responsible is well worth the effort and a testament to your dependability and independent streak!
3. Creating a social life from scratch
It’s a known fact that the process of making friends is a lot easier for kids compared to adults, and that’s precisely one of the things you’ll have to face upon entering college. While some people are more outgoing than others, it still takes a lot of nerves to approach someone you’ve never met before and strike up a conversation. If you’re an extrovert and find it hard to approach a fellow college mate, imagine how an introvert would feel! But fret not. Making new friends might seem hard at first, but you’ll find that everyone else feels the same way too. People warm up to genuine people who don’t put up pretenses – just be yourself! Chances are, you’ll be working on group projects and assignments soon enough and you’ll most probably get to know more than a few people that way. You could also help yourself along by joining clubs and societies to connect with people of similar interests. That way, you can make friends AND give yourself a break from the stresses of studies as well. And before you know it, you’ll be over that initial overwhelming feeling of isolation and the culture shock!