Ah, college. A time and a place for a fresh start. It’s all too exciting and too terrifying at the same time. It’s a time in your life when you face the most difficulties, when you find out how to fend for yourself, and most importantly, when you learn. During the whole college experience, you will learn a lot of things, whether it’s about yourself or how the world really works. Before this, your parents have probably kept you safe and sound, doing their best to help you as much as they can, and now all of a sudden you’re left by yourself. You’ll learn many things, and these are just some of them.
The excitement of being in a new environment
Especially if you’re studying in a different city. Literally everything around you is new. New city, new apartment/dorm, new school, new people, new places, etc. One of the amazing things about living in a new environment is that you get to explore it, which you’ll definitely want to do, whether we’re talking long walks by yourself or finding good places to eat with your (new or old) friends! You get to meet a new city, so to say, and learn so much about it.
A newfound love for school and education
In both primary and secondary school, you were always forced to study every subject, including the ones that’ll have nothing to do with your future career. In college, it’s quite different, especially if you decided to study something that you love. You are actually learning the subjects you want to learn, the subjects which will help you form a career, and you may even look forward to learning them. Sure, there’s a lot to learn, but the difference is that it suddenly doesn’t feel like much of a burden. As one of my close friends put it, it’s such a foreign feeling to walk past your school and not look at it with hatred, but with so much admiration.
New friends you share common interests with
Another thing about collage, almost everyone there has the same passions as you. Just like you, most of the people you see around you when you look around the classroom are there because they love and/or are good at whatever it is that you’re studying! You won’t feel like an outcast in a place where people share your passions, and that’s the beauty of it. Primary and secondary schools are places where you’re just in a room with a diverse bunch of girls and boys, each and every one of them has their own passions and ambitions, and oftentimes it’s hard for them to understand you and your passions. In college, I can guarantee you that most of the people around you not only understand your passions, but they share the same ones as well, and it’s suddenly so much easier to open up to them.
College is a lot different that you’ve imagined it’d be
I’d say that this is the general rule. Whatever you’ve imagined college to be, it is not. Maybe you’ve seen too many movies, maybe you think you’ll become best friends with your roommate, maybe you think you’ll go to a new party every weekend, maybe you think it’ll be complicated, maybe you think it’ll be hard, maybe you’re afraid, maybe you’re even petrified. College is just, in it’s simplest explanation, a different experience for everyone. But once you get over the original fuss, you’ll get used to it, and you’ll be just fine. The main thing is to work hard and to take care of yourself.
Being on your own
Especially if you’re studying in a different city. Whether you’re there by yourself or with someone else, you’ll still feel a bit isolated. You are away from everything and everyone that you’re used to, you are way out of your comfort zone and it’s a bit scary at first. You’ll have to do so much paperwork by yourself, you won’t be able to rely on your mom to make your appointments for you (or accompany you), and you’ll have to take care of yourself, your apartment/dorm, your clothes, your dishes, and so much more (all the while you’re studying for exams).
It’s not all that hard
Maybe it’s because you aren’t forced to study the subjects you don’t like and/or are bad at, or the fact that you’re studying something that’s interesting to you. All the studying you have to do somehow seems like a burden, but you know it’ll pay off in the end. Sure, you will come across a subject or two which may be difficult or boring, but all the subjects in general will seem interesting to some extent. And plus in many cases the things you’ll study are just extensions to the knowledge you already had.
But it’s not without difficulties
But then again, there are the difficult bits. Ones that will keep you up at night, ones that you just won’t be able to grasp, ones that you know you’ll have to work hard on. These are the key moments when you have to remind yourself of what drives you, why you choose this college in the first place, and how you used to look at your future. For me personally, a vet student, it’s my love for animals and the urge to help them, as well as my childhood pet Leni who had an incurable disease.
Mainly means taking advantages of coupons, sales, and buying everything in a smaller amount. No matter your source of income, you’ll definitely learn to save money and to control your urges to buy the first cute dress you see at a shop window. Also, this may mean that you’ll start buying groceries (which you are now completely in charge of) in smaller packagings, because buying a litre of milk hardly pays off if it’ll spoil in the fridge. The solution? Buying half a litre of milk, of course. Same goes with pretty much all drinks and many types of food. There’s not a lot of mouths to feed, so buy smaller packaging and the food in it won’t rot or spoil.
College is expensive. Being a student is expensive. So one of the main things you’ll have to control are your urges to go out and buy a new outfit (or new books) as soon as you get some money on you hands. It will be extremely hard to distinguish between what you want and what you need, but it’s something you’ll have to learn, because no matter how cute the outfit you’re ogling at may be, it’s not worth you spending a few nights under a bridge (okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get the point.). Another thing you’ll notice are all the student discounts, which are available for pretty much everything you’ll need to make your collage life as memorable and durable as possible.
So that’s mainly what it’s like. Of course, not everyone will find themselves in the above mentioned text, since everyone’s story is different and unique, but these are just some of the key points that a lot of us will experience at one point or another. In the text I’ve used my own experience as guidance, the guidance of a girl who has decided to follow her dreams and work hard to do what she loves most- helping.
So here’s to me, to you, to every collage student who is trying to find their place in the world. May the odds be forever in our favour.