Congratulations class of 2016, you successfully surpassed the notorious K–12 years. Midway into the summer, you’re anxiously awaiting your college orientation. With overflowing excitement from reading your acceptance letter, you can’t wait to finally grace the college campus with your presence. Before you keel over with happiness, let me grace you with my presence—via your screen of course. In the fall, I will start my senior year at Florida State University. As a seasoned veteran in all things scholastic, I’d like to inform incoming freshman (from any college) of the cold, hard facts. Orientation sugar coats college life, and I’m here to burst your bubble and tell you the sh-t they should tell you before your first day.
1. You’ll Gain Weight
Read those two words slowly and carefully. Boys and girls, college will indeed add some poundage to your now chiseled body. Even if you’re reading this while nibbling on celery sticks, you too will gain weight. Stress-eating quickly becomes a habit when you find yourself studying for your Financial Management of the Firm test—or when you feel too lazy to cook. In high school, I prided myself on my athleticism. I embodied a healthy and active member of society. Entering my senior year, I’m a slightly less toned, Publix sub addicted member of society. You know what they say—not pregnant, just eating good food.
The Takeaway: Sign up for a gym membership or actually use your campus gym.
2. Your Wallet Will Remain Empty
Despite the fact your a checking account connects to your dad’s bank, you will often find yourself ballin’ on a budget. From $300 text books (not kidding), groceries and the occasional night out, your wallet will soon come up bare. When this happens, don’t panic. You aren’t alone. Nine out of 10 college students hold an average amount of $23.67 in their checking account. I totally made that statistic up, but sounds a lot like my friend group. Believe me when I say the pair of shoes or 28th Chipotle bowl of the month can wait. Save your dough.
The Takeaway: Get a job, ASAP.
3. You’ll Get Bad Grades
Hate to break this fun fact to all of you nerds, but brace yourselves for the impending doom that comes in the shape of a B…or C. Of course you can prevent bad grades through religious studying, paying close attention in class and not watching vines during the test review. However, one class will appear on your schedule that’ll make you dream of dropping out. No matter the study habits or superstitious pre-test rituals, you won’t make higher than a 73 on any test in that class. Upcoming sophomore at Troy University Mikaela Davis explained, “In high school I was used to making As by studying for an hour, now I’m lucky to pass if I study for seven hours.” Tears will come and go, but soon you’ll learn C’s get degrees. Don’t sweat it.
The Takeaway: Fake it till you make it.
4. Group Projects Suck
Back in high school, group projects rocked my world. Let me be the first to tell you that group projects in college suck. You’ll no longer latch onto your best friend the moment your teacher spits out the word “group.” Nope, you either get assigned a group by your professor or the worst approach: awkwardly asking the people near you if they want to suffer with you. Don’t scroll down yet; the hard part isn’t over. Once you gather everyone’s contact information and assign different tasks, you’ll be the only person ever reaching out to your group. In the end, your grade will suffer due to everyone’s lack of PowerPoint and social skills.
The Takeaway: Make friends in your class on the first day—like actually become BFFs.
5. Your Health Will Deteriorate
No, college won’t age you into a 70 year-old, but you won’t age like fine wine either. Maybe I’m the only one who believes this to be true, but my health slowly began diminishing once I started college. The lack of home cooked meals combined with a dirty dorm because you forgot to buy a vacuum slowly wreaks havoc on your immune system. “Be prepared to get sick at any time and stay sick longer than normal due to lack of sleep,” said Florida Atlantic University student Ryan Maranges. Your body’s knowledge of germs comes up short when faced with loads of germs on a crowded campus. The world is a dirty place, y’all.
The Takeaway: Buy Germ-X in bulk.
6. Parking Spots Are Non-Existent
“[University of Florida] gives out three times the number of parking spots in decals,” said UF senior Blythe Ferguson. Soon into the first few weeks at school, you’ll come to realize 8 a.m. classes reap multiple benefits, including the ability to successfully find a parking spot in a nearby parking garage. But seriously, parking garages quickly become the Indy 500 around lunchtime. You’ll speed around corners, dodge incoming pedestrians and passive-aggressively flick on your turn signal in order to get a spot.
The Takeaway: Invest in a bicycle.
7. Dorm Life Reeks…Literally
Before I downgrade dorms, I will speak positively about them for a moment. Dorms offer you an opportunity to conform with other awkward, anxious 18 year-olds. Oftentimes, dorms give you some of the best companionships you’ll hold onto all four years of college. However, dorms stink. They’re small, cramped, hole-in-the-wall rooms. Like, I’m pretty sure my dogs sleep in better quarters. FSU senior Sammie Eunice said, “I’m not sure which was worse…our room being hornet-infested for five days or all of the shoes I had to throw away from the mold.” Definitely the shoes. Far worse.
The Takeaway: Search “how to make a room look bigger” on Pinterest.
8. No Dress Code = Pajamas Every Day
When I first began college, excitement flowed through my blood. Partly from the new-found freedom, but mostly because I could finally wear whatever I wanted. Whether you wore uniforms during your teen years or had to wear “fingertip length” shorts, the idea of wearing your new sun dress thrills you. Let me burst that bubble for you. You’ll find yourself throwing on your umpteenth pair of leggings and the largest t-shirt you can find. Recent University of Tennessee Chattanooga grad Lauren Gainer explained her wardrobe dilemma. “I was an athlete so I didn’t need to pack half as much as I did because they provided me with all the athletic wear I needed, which is all anyone wears to class anyway!”
The Takeaway: Buy more comfortable clothes.
9. School Supplies Are Boring
Remember the thrill you felt when you got your school supplies list for the fourth grade? Or purchasing the cutest binders for your freshman year of high school? Yeah, forget all of that. Personally, I’ve made my way through three years of college with nothing but a notebook and a pen. And if you’re a laptop junkie, you won’t even need that. Save a tree or two. Next time you find yourself in the binder aisle, just keep walking. No need to impress your fellow classmates with the dark green Five Star binder with the three ring holders.
The Takeaway: Buy pen and paper.
10. Always Buy the Text Book
Textbooks do cost a fortune, but I still highly recommend always purchasing the required texts for class. Multiple people disagree with me, but better be safe than sorry. Honestly, the majority of my classes used the text book regularly. To ease the pain of the price, find shortcuts or cheaper options. Ole’ reliable Amazon offers the same books at a much cheaper price. Check out Chegg, too. This site presents students with the ability to sell, rent or buy text books (even e-books). Just do it.
The Takeaway: Buy the damn book.