You count down the days to your first day, constantly checking and rechecking your schedule, reading and rereading your subject and course descriptions, even picking out the most suitable first day outfit to wear.
You’re excited: it’s an opportunity to meet people, study subjects you’re actually interested in, and try out new things by joining organizations or going out during your free time.
As your first day approaches, however, panic begins to set in. Is your schedule correct? Did you choose the right course? Is your outfit too loud or too average? Will you make the right impression on people? Are you ready to make such a big change?
This anxiety doubles as the day comes and you slowly approach your campus. Entering your first class, you search the room for a familiar face, but realizing there’s none, you decide to settle in a seat. Your first professor enters the room and begins talking about the semester ahead, and even more worries enter your head: can you handle the workload? Will you get good grades? Was this really a good idea?
Despite months of preparing and planning for it, nothing can ever prepare anyone for college. It’s an entirely different ball game. You’re pushed into an environment where people are entirely unfamiliar; unlike high school where almost everyone came from the same grade school, you barely know anyone. On top of this, you don’t have a permanent section, so every class is shared with a different group of people.
Subjects are also much more difficult. Professors expect so much more from you, and you’re expected to start working on requirements immediately.
In addition to this, professors have varying teaching styles, so learning may be more difficult in some subjects than in others. Thus everything you answer or submit counts.
Exams may also vary with each professor, so some sections may have more difficult exams than others. Quizzes are suddenly much more important than they were in high school, and papers suddenly start piling up, especially at the end of the semester.
Despite all this, college has pros that balance out, if not outweigh, the cons. The first would be the expansion of your social circle.
Meeting people outside your social group is a good way to hone your social skills. College will introduce you to a seemingly never-ending number of people, and it’s all for the best.
More friends mean more connections for the future—connections that could help you get employed or eventually help you get connected with people in higher positions.
Subjects are also generally more interesting than what you had in high school. Since college is about preparing you for your job, you’ll find that most of the subjects in your curriculum will be of use in the future. Furthermore, your subjects will teach you much more than the basics, most of which you have already learned in high school.
You can also join some of the organizations around campus. From organizations related to your course to charity work, hobbies to talents, each college or university has an organization that caters to your interests. It’s a good way to pursue your interests on the side and to take on more responsibility. Org work can also look very good on a résumé.
College also means more free time. There will be times you will have extremely long breaks. This free time can be utilized in various ways, such as studying in the library, finishing requirements, doing org work or simply meeting up and going out with friends.
Although it may seem like you have more than enough time to juggle schoolwork, extracurricular activities and social life, it’s best to keep in mind that you are a student, first and foremost. Studies should always come first, and extracurricular activities and social life should not be your main priority. Time management is the key to balancing all of these.
College may seem difficult or unmanageable at first, especially since it is a drastic change from high school, but it becomes easier when you realize that you’re not alone and other people are also in the same predicament as you are.
Instead of worrying about it, just enjoy the experience. Make friends, join an organization, go out every once in a while and study well. College will fly by quickly, and it’s best to just enjoy the ride.