With college comes independence, new experiences and shit from high school that no longer matters. As soon as your tassel turns, the importance of what you wear, who you associate with, how your schedule turns out and why you feel copious amounts of regret and embarrassment after one minor blunder fail to make it amongst your stuff labeled “college” for the fall. Although high school exposed you to a number of milestones, firsts and the joys of dissecting your mystery meat at lunch, college is an entirely different ball game of crack-of-dawn tailgates, three nights of Halloween and endless Uber rides across campus. So buck up and get ready because these 10 things hold relatively no weight in your collegiate escapades.
The era of Lindsey Lohan’s Mean Girls has ended and so has high school. Say goodbye to the cliques, petty behavior and ridiculous social media fights. Now jump for joy or put your fist in the air like Judd Nelson at the end of Breakfast Club and say hello to a place where you can be friends with everyone from sports, a different country and even a frat brother. Even hailing from a school heavily involved with Greek life, students from every facet of life can find their person, group or niche.
I spent my entire senior year of high school trying not to repeat a single outfit (if anyone cares–I succeeded), while in college I just hope what I am wearing is clean, or at least somewhat presentable. Although going out to frats, bars or houses requires at least a functioning wardrobe, all on-campus activities are fair game for sweatpants, sweatshirts and my favorite Friday morning cover up: the baseball hat.
Besides my friends, experiences and opportunities, the most rewarding transitional aspect from high school to college is having the confidence to pursue what you want, be who you want and to stick it to the man (or woman, we aren’t sexist here). Before college, every physical and mental difference seemed magnified and embarrassing, but once I immersed myself into a school with about 46,000 undergraduate students, my big nose, insane obsession with football and innate weirdness melted into my identity as positivity instead of insecurity. Like the Cheshire Cat says in Alice in Wonderland, “We’re all mad here.”
Disclaimer: Grades do matter in college, but not as much as internships and experience. High school puts a heavy burden on students to achieve a perfect 4.0 for college admittance. Now don’t freak out; it’s really not as bad as it seems with a little time management, late nights and all the coffee and pizza in the world, but college courses obviously present more of a challenge than high school algebra. So new and transferring students need to cut themselves a break and understand that passing a class in college can be just as commendable. Have no fear friends; in college, C’s get degrees (thank goodness).
5. Hooking Up
In high school people may call you a slut for that one night of fun, but in college it’s okay to just have fun. The ills and stereotypes of hooking up fly out the window after your first frat party in college; you’ll see it everywhere, even if you really didn’t want to see that hand go down there.
Before computers had completely taken over the world, I remember the days of running to the mailbox to find out my homeroom teacher and calling my friends. Come high school and the Internet, I had my username and password at the ready to find out who my teachers were and who I would be sitting with at lunch. Now at a school with a large student population, my inner excitement succumbs to my anxiety of not being able to obtain the classes I need and the ever so dreadful 8 a.m. on a Friday (yes, I do have to deal with it this semester. Who’s with me?).
Say goodbye to having to wake up a few minutes early to pack your lunch to avoid the mushy fruit, the grey chicken patties and the clearly sexist term “lunch lady.” The diversity of college seeps into your lunchtime decisions. You want cheap campus food? It’s yours. You want the unique flavors of a college town restaurant? Go for it. Do you crave the bad-decision drunk munchies at 2 a.m.? I won’t stop you.
8. Age Gaps
What is age but a number? Before college, whenever the freshman started dating the senior, rumors would fly from every imaginable stereotype and scenario. If Hugh Hefner can have multiple girlfriends who are clearly way younger than his senior, then why do we have to label young love? Anyways, in college you can find a freshman-senior relationship just about anywhere. In fact, at least one of your friends will most likely hook up with a TA. Your one really socially adjusted friend (#momofthegroup) could even find love with a 30-year-old Tinder match. Just be prepared when that happens.
9. School Supplies
Shout out to all of my overly-organized freaks who loved back-to-school shopping just so you could organize every notebook, binder and piece of paper to a neat little T. Now just like with school schedules, college seems to seep all of the excitement from school build-up activities because every student has a lap top with every class they have ever taken stored into its confines. Quite frankly the nerd and organizational freak misses putting my matching pencil to paper.
The next-day regret factor in a college atmosphere seems so minimal compared to that sinking feeling you felt in your stomach every time you had to return to the dreaded halls of high school after a nasty rumor, fight or break-up. Unless something atrocious happens, you can ease your regret with another night out after a bad decision or a baseball hat (perfect for everything) to avoid any familiar eyes. But there are so many new people to meet, you can always completely reinvent yourself if you really want to. “No ragrets,” right?