Jumping in a River to Skip Class: College’s Biggest Surprises

By  | 0 Comments

Between movies, TV and our own insecurities from high school, we go into college with a ton of preconceived notions about what freshman year will be like. In reality, though, most of those expectations are completely inaccurate. Ten upperclassmen shared the biggest surprises they experienced when they started college.

1. “How over-prepared I was. I was expecting it to be a lot more rigorous compared to high school, and my first semester was fairly easy to get through. And this is kind of weird, but I was also shocked by how many smokers there were on campus. In one of my classes, during breaks, only one other person and I didn’t go out for a smoke break. Everyone else did, including the professor.” – Kiran Saini, Junior, Wayne State University

2. “When I started school, I thought that making a core group of friends would be a given. I had to realize that you have to work to find your niche by joining different groups and constantly meeting new people.” – Lauren Wood, Senior, University of Michigan

3. “I went into college thinking I was beyond things like homesickness and peer pressure and making big mistakes. I thought I had independence all figured out. So I was surprised when I stumbled on common hurdles for freshmen, because I felt I should have known better or been mentally prepared for such things. Now, I realize life isn’t meant to be sailed through, it’s meant to be experienced.” – Katie George, Junior, Kalamazoo College

4. “The biggest surprise for me was the flexibility from the professors and, like, time management and everything. Like in high school, the due date was it. But in college, you can kind of work with the professors and make it more manageable.” – Elle di Girolamo, Junior, Grand Valley State University

5. “My freshman roommate was so, so, so gross. I never once saw her brush her teeth. She kept the same milk in our fridge for over two months. She left a bowl of cereal with milk in it just open on the bottom shelf for over two weeks. She was a redhead, and she had a white sheet of paper next to her bed where she was just collecting a pile of her hair.” – Megan Splitt, Junior, University of Michigan

6. “I was surprised by how many hipster coffee shops there were, and how many posters they have for movies I’ve never even heard of.” – George Gardner, Junior, University of Michigan

7. “There’s a place for everyone here. Once my friends wanted to go out, but I told them I was busy, and I went out to watch the League of Legends World Championships with, like, 80 other people on a huge screen. It was ridiculous and completely nerdy, but I loved it, and I can get away with that here because there’s always a place for everyone, and that’s not always true everywhere else.” – Matteen Victory, Junior, University of Michigan

8. “I definitely wouldn’t have expected that I’d change schools once and my major three times. Going into college, everyone said you’d change your mind, and I totally thought I’d be the one who didn’t and I’d graduate right on time. But the complete opposite happened.” – Paige Scoggin, Junior,College for Creative Studies

9. “It’s weird how often people miss class. Once I was walking to my Calc 3 lecture with my friend and he didn’t want to go, so I told him, ‘If you jump in the river, we’ll go home.’ So he did. He’d rather jump in a river than listen to a 70-year-old man talk about partial derivatives.” – Abdullah Mohammed, Junior, Michigan State University 

10. “I think the biggest surprise is the amount of confidence I gained after leaving my hometown. Back home, I was always surrounded by self-doubt and insecurity. I chose a school that I believed would be a good fit for me, people, program and location-wise. Now being surrounded by those who have similar passions as me, I don’t feel like such a weirdo or an outcast.” – Camille King, Senior, Columbia College Chicago

Ben is a junior at the University of Michigan studying English and film. He has a long list of movies and TV to watch that he'll never finish.

Enter our Monthly Giveaway

Win $100 for YOU & $100 for your student org. Sign up to enter our monthly giveaway.