10 Things You’ll Learn During Your First Few Weeks in College

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Congratulations, you made it to the next step! Now, I imagine that most of you are feeling pretty excited, and maybe a little scared. College will definitely going be an interesting experience, to say that least. You’ll learn a lot about many different subjects you’ve never even heard of, and of course about yourself.

Check out 10 non-academic things you’ll learn in the first few weeks of your freshman year of college.

1. Read your syllabus ENTIRELY

Your class’s syllabi might run like, 10 pages long, but you’d better read it. A lot of questions that you might have for your professor may be answered already in the syllabus. Plus, college professors are (usually) nice enough to put the entire schedule in the there, from the first day of class to your final exam. So when it comes to the syllabus, make sure to read it, study it and keep it handy.

2. You’ll meet so many new people

If you’re going to college somewhere new where you don’t know anybody, you might feel a little nervous about making friends. But fear not. College offers plenty of opportunities to meet new people— in class, student common areas, clubs and organizations, etc. It sounds cliché, but college is literally filled with people, and you will find people you vibe with, AKA your very own Friends crew.

3. College is hard, like, really hard

High school may have been a breeze for you. Whether high school academics were pretty simple for you or not, college will definitely make you feel like going back to the land of gym and 50-minute class periods. I’m not trying to scare you, but I do want you to understand that college is no joke. It will require you to work harder than you did in high school. So get ready to put in work; no breezing through allowed.

4. You’ll have lots of resources

If #3 scared you, then #4 will make you feel so much better. Your professors know that their material will challenge you, so they’ll make sure to tell you about office hours, tutoring and give links to websites that should help you understand. This especially rings true for freshmen classes. Since you’re an adult in college now, you won’t need to use these resources if you don’t want to, but I would definitely recommend that you take advantage of them.

5. You’re on your own

No one tells you to go to class. No one reminds you about lunch. And no one tells you when or if you’re allowed to go to the bathroom. Basically anything you might’ve heard from the adults at your high school stays in high school. You are (basically) free to do what you want. Be careful with all of this newfound freedom, though. You will definitely learn about responsibility and time-management during this point in your life.

6. You’ll need a planner or a scheduling app

As a college student, you will juggle a lot of classes, possible extracurriculars and/or a job and other factors in your life, so it can be hard to keep up with all of those future dates. A planner or a scheduling app is a must in college. My favorite app to use is MyStudyLife. You can use it on your phone and on a computer, and it makes sure to send you reminders everyday of any upcoming tasks or exams.

7. Food can get pretty expensive

If you were one of those high-schoolers who frequently bought lunch (guilty!) then this shouldn’t be new to you. Food can get pretty expensive, pretty quickly. Depending on where you go to college, it can feel pretty tempting to buy coffee, lunch and snacks. After all, it’s #PSL season, am I right? Just keep in mind that you’ll find other things you might want to save up for, like clothes, concerts and spring break trips, so you definitely don’t want to spend all that money on food.

8. Your college experience probably won’t be a constant party

Every college movie out there lied to you. You won’t go to a crazy college party every night, or take part in fun activities all of the time. You’re in school because you want to get a degree, remember? If you really do want to have the typical crazy college experience that they show in the movies, then you’ll find yourself in school forever. Yikes. Don’t worry, you’ll have fun times, but you’re really going to want to use most of that time to do well in your classes.

9. You don’t have to go to class, but you really should

Remember how if you didn’t go to class in high school, you’d get marked absent, detention or maybe a call to your parents? Yeah, you won’t need to worry about that in college. For most college classes (except for labs), attendance isn’t mandatory. It’s totally up to you if you want to get out of bed and head to lecture. Not going to class works for some people, but unfortunately it doesn’t work for most of us. Your professor will say some pretty important things during lecture, and you might not find all the info online. It’s just a couple hours out of your day, why not just show up to class?

10. It’s okay to not have everything figured out yet

As a college freshman, everyone you know may expect you to know your major and career path as soon as you start school. Some students have a clear idea about what they want to study, but others need time and guidance to really figure out what they want. But keep in mind that the horror on your aunt’s face when you tell her you have no clue what major to choose doesn’t mean you’re screwed. Take a look around your lecture hall—almost all the freshmen sitting around you will end up changing their major at least once. Don’t worry if you’re not entirely sure what career path you’d like to pursue. You’re definitely not the only student confused AF about what they want to do in life.

Hi, my name is Diana and I'm a junior at UCDenver studying psychology. I am also on the pre-med track and hope to become a physician someday. Writing has always been a hobby of mine, and now I use it as an outlet to de-stress from exams, quizzes, and assignments.

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