As I look back and think about how excited I was to begin a new life in college, I remember believing the things that I thought were cool and uncool n high school would most likely remain the same once I started at the university. Now I always laugh about how completely wrong and naive I was.
1. Staying up late (or better yet not sleeping)
In high school, there was something so exhilarating about sneaking out, staying up all night and feeling like a badass when I managed to wake up on time to, not only make it to zero period, but to also survive sixth period P.E. class all without dozing off throughout the day.
College reality: After my first quarter in college, I soon became familiar with things called midterms, papers and finals where I was always struggling to keep my damn eyes open, especially when trying to pull an all-nighter studying. Naps was something I always looked forward to and going to bed early meant I wouldn’t doze off in my 8 a.m. hour and half lecture on Modern Anthropological Theories.
2. Driving off campus for lunch was awesome
In high school, I was always jealous of the few juniors and seniors who actually had a license, a car (I was too embarrassed to drive my station wagon around), and was able to leave campus to grab a quick lunch at Jack in the Box. Anything was better than standing in line to eat the rubber pizza that was always on my school’s menu.
College Reality: I learned the hard way that leaving campus for lunch meant losing a coveted parking spot and sometimes not having an available space to park in when I returned. As if fighting for parking was not bad enough, me being a commuter meant I had to drive everywhere so driving off campus just to eat was one thing I was never adamant about doing.
3. Using a purse as a backpack made you look cute
In high school, I always thought a backpack would ruin my outfit. So in attempt to make sure I looked as cute as possible, I opted for a purse to house everything that was not a book, chose to hold my binders and picked up whatever else I needed from my locker during passing period.
College Reality: I found using a purse as a backpack was stupid and useless when I realized how much fucking walking I had to do across campus. Being a commuter with a random ass first quarter schedule, (all the best time slots were already taken by the time I had to register for courses), meant I had keep several books on me for class and there was no way in hell I was carrying them all around campus without a backpack. Also, for some reason backpacks became a cool accessory considering everyone I knew was all about owning a Herschel. As for me, I was always excited to shop for new Hello Kitty ones.
4. Riding a bike or scooter made you a loser
At my high school, if you used a scooter or bike as your main form of transportation, you were often seem as a loser because you didn’t drive a car – (and there was always the fear of some asshole popping your tires).
College Reality: It was often encouraged to use all other forms of transportation except driving to help preserve a more sustainable environment. I forced my dad to buy me a beach cruiser once I saw how many other students were riding one and how cool they looked. Sadly, I could not get it to fit in my car and did not want to deal with adding a car mount to the station wagon I drove all four years in college.
Whatever expectations you have about college, I warn you now that you might be surprised by what you’ll encounter.