A week or two ago, I went back home to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family – it was the first time I had been back in town since I moved out here. Now that I’m back at school, and reflecting on the amount of tweens that I saw paired with the fact that I’m pretty much done with the first semester of college, I want to bestow some wisdom upon all of the high schoolers I’m thinking of back home. After the holiday break,  you’re all going to enter the homestretch of high school. So, as you switch into the college mindset, here’s a list of totally true things about college that I have learned in my first semester. Once you get here, you’ll be able to relate. Guaranteed.

What I Learned In My First Semester Of College: A List

1. You’re Not Going To Reinvent Yourself

Let’s get that one out there right away. For some reason, everyone has this big fantasy that they’re “going to become a whole new person” when they go to college. I mean, it’s totally doable – no one here knows who you are or the person you were in high school, so theoretically it’s easy to pretend to be someone totally different. But you’re not going to do it. Face it – the person you are now is the person you’ve been building for 17-18 years. It is very difficult to change that. Sure, you can get a haircut or lose weight or something, but mentally and emotionally you will not reinvent yourself. You are who you are. Any minor changes in mindset or personality will come subconsciously.

2. Get Netflix

Trust me, you’re going to use it. And if your show isn’t on Netflix, you will be surprised with yourself at how determined you will become while searching the internet for it. Sure, it’s a procrastination tool. But you’ll have enough to do at college that you’re going to need to unwind.

3. College Guys Are Men With The Hearts And Minds Of Boys

Ah, college guys. Mmm. Most of them are able to grow facial hair, they are all pretty much over puberty, and the good ones even have ambitions. It really is like you’ve fallen into the jackpot of hot boys. But that’s exactly it – they’re all hot BOYS. As my wise and seasoned father eloquently states, “All guys are dogs.” No one has ever said anything more accurate regarding college and meeting guys; ladies, it’s not that hard to find a man that will want to get with you up here in higher education. What IS hard is finding a man that wants to get to KNOW you. Have fun, but recognize the difference.

4. You Can Still Have A Good Time In College If You Have A Significant Other Going Somewhere Else

Yup, I said it. You have endless amounts of freedom in college, and if you think you’re madly in love with the one you’re with, give it a try. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but you can still have a good time and not really miss out on anything if you have a girlfriend/boyfriend. I have friends whose boyfriends are across the country and they can make it work. Besides ladies, freshmen boys in college aren’t looking for the one they want to marry and be with for the rest of their life like you secretly are. And guys, plenty of freshman girls are really riding on the precipice of crazy. Let go of the fantasy that you’re going to meet your dream significant other right away. Then again, I came into college single and it’s allowed me to meet and hang out with a bunch of different people, and I don’t regret a thing.

5. Pretty Much Everyone Is Going To Drink

Yes, hello to all the parents that are reading this. If you think your kid isn’t going to drink, may you remain in that blissfully oblivious mindset. It’s not about your kid rebelling. It’s just that they don’t live with you anymore, and for the time being, don’t “have to feel guilty” about their decisions regarding alcohol. Luckily, they’ll have you in the back of their mind and keep their drink in their hand, never go home with strangers, and know (or learn) their limit. But yes, even the innocent ones will have their go at a messy night or two. It just happens.

6. College Is Not That Hard If You Care About It

Let me present a scenario. You get to college, and go to your first class. ‘Whoa,’ you think, ‘I have no idea what this teacher is talking about.’  This is probably because you’re in calc or stats or something. Then, as the semester goes on, and it doesn’t get easier, you’re like ‘I’m gonna skip today.’ That then becomes a habit. Then you fail your final. Then you drop out and die.

So maybe it’s a little exaggerated. But if you don’t make the effort, yes, college will be challenging. It doesn’t get easier, so if you don’t care, learn to. You might surprise yourself at how interesting your courses actually are. Your professors have made a living off of publishing dissertations on the stuff they’re teaching you – they love what they do. Channel some of their passion and you’ll find that it really is easy to get an A.

7. Plus, Some Classes May Surprise You

As a requirement for the College of Arts and Science, I have to take a biology course. As I walked into my first class, I braced myself for the waves of possibly-suicidal thoughts that were sure to come rushing over me as soon as my professor started talking. Turns out, they never came. In fact, my bio class is my most interesting and engaging course, and, ironically, my least favorite class turned out to be English. I’m a Creative Writing and Journalism double major. I think you can see the significance of this situation.

8. Group Projects Are The Same As They Were In High School 

If you’re that person that always ends up doing all the work, sorry, it doesn’t change. If you’re that person that never does anything in a group project, I hate you.

9. The Freshman 15 Is Too Real

I repeat, it is a very real phenomenon that will sneak up on you some day in the last few weeks in your first semester. If you’re a real trooper, you will have gained all fifteen. If you’re like me, you’ll have gained half of it, which makes sense since you still have half a year left. The science is sound.

10. It Really Is A Hit Or Miss With Your Roommate

Example of a hit:

roommate 2

Example of a miss:

THE ROOMMATE

11. The Week Leading Up To And The Week Of Finals Are A Special Kind Of Hell.

Upon reflection of these past few days, I’ve coined the term “Repentance Week.” I truly think that these two weeks are punishment for everything you’ve ever done wrong in your life compacted into various science and logic exams. You can run, but you can’t hide from the hell that awaits you at the end of each semester. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

12. No One Cares.

Rumor confirmed: college is nothing like high school. Surprise! No one cares about what you look like or what you do. If they do care, it’s because they haven’t grown up yet and have too much time on their hands. Everyone came to your college to do their own thing, not to judge you. That is, unless you join Greek life. But that’s for a whole other post.

13. To All Freshman Boys: It’s Hard To Get Beer Without Boobs

Well, someone needs to warn ‘em.

14. You’ll Find Something You’ll Love

Whether it’s a class, a new major, a person, or a passion you may not know about, you’re going to find something you love, even if it’s small. It doesn’t matter if you choose, for some reason, to transfer out at the end of the semester – something about your college of choice will pull you in. It sounds cliche, but the different types of people you meet and connect with will blow your mind. You’ll come to learn quickly that it’s not the nights you spend out that give you the best memories or the most inside jokes; it’s the time you spend in, playing an intramural sport or joining a sick organization that really gives you the real experience. Upon coming to school, you’ll see (and maybe you’ll be) the classic freshman that thinks it’s cool to go out every day simply because they’re away from home for the first time. Hopefully you’ll learn fast enough that the whole point of this thing is to grow, intellectually and personally, with some fun on the side.

That pretty much does it. Oh, and one last thing.

College is amazing.