What has been surprising about college?

Allie Buikema

Going to college is an exciting experience, and full of surprises. A lot of freshmen have no idea what awaits them during their first year. The classes, the freedom, the people, and the overall atmosphere of college life come as  a shock to a lot of freshmen.

The Classes:

Many incoming freshmen are not so pleasantly surprised with the amount of homework and studying that comes with being in college.  A lot of the students coming from high school to college aren’t used to the challenging work load and amount of studying that college dishes out. “I guess what has surprised me the most was how fast classes move. It’s not even harder than say and AP or IB course, it’s just that you’re expected to go about five times faster,” said Frosh. Sophie Vanden Bosch who goes to Denison University.

A lot of high schoolers are able to slack off during high school and get by doing the bare minimum of homework and studying. However as soon as they get to college they are hit with a slap in the face at just how much more they have to do to stay on track with the class. “The homework load is about doubled compared to high school and for each class you are expected to study 10-12 hours per week,” said Frosh. at Hope College Alli Vanderstoep.

It is a great idea to take a couple AP/IB classes during high school to get a taste of what college will be like in order to make the transition a little smoother. Going to college as prepared as possible will make freshmen year a lot easier. Frosh. Emily Lacy left for college very prepared as she knew exactly what she wanted to study, and took the classes in high school that would prepare her for college.”The exams and class work isn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I thought it’d be a huge step up from high school work but the teachers at WO prepared us for that, so it’s really not that different.”

The Freedom

Transitioning from High school to college can be very exciting to freshmen because of all the freedom that comes with it. No more parents right around the corner, no little siblings to look after, no more household rules. A lot of freshmen have no idea what real freedom feels like until college. Unlike in high school when teacher are constantly getting on students cases about turning in homework and missing assignments, in college there is little to none. “One thing that has surprised me in college is how much freedom we have. The instructors are never on you about turning in assignments. You are on your own and must take responsibility to know when something is due.” said Frosh. at GRCC Matt Mac Donald. In high school, a lot of teachers will put assignments up on the board, send reminder texts, e-mails etc, however once you get to college, you are on your own to remember due dates. “It’s a lot different than high school classes, because most of the homework is online so you have to be sure to check there everyday for the homework because some professors won’t tell you that stuff during class,” said Frosh. Keith Banaszak at Grand Valley State University.

The People

The people you meet in college will be some of your best friends for life. This is a common phrase uttered by teachers, parents, and college students themselves. Going to college allows you to meet people from all over the world with all different backgrounds and stories. “Some people I’ve met have super fascinating stories! I’ve met around seven people who have gone to boarding school which was really surprising!” said Vanden Bosch.

It can be very hard for a lot of students to leave home and venture off to a new city, state, even country, so making friends immediately is key! “I thought that it would be a lot harder being away from home, but after making a lot of new and old friends here, it turns out to be a lot easier than I expected.” said WMU Frosh. Emily Lacy. In college there is a vast difference in personalities and this makes it easier to find people who share the same passions as you, and have complementing personalities to yours.

“The people are also more mature.” said Hope college Frosh. Justin Freeman. Going to college forces a lot of students to grow up fast and to act more like adults. A lot of the petty high school drama and immaturity is extinguished during the transition from high school to college. In college you are treated a lot more like an adult, not only by the professors but also by your peers.

College Life

Life at college is very different compared to life during high school. “What surprised me the most was how small of a space I have to live in. You would be surprised how much you have to downsize all of your things when coming to live in a college residence hall!” said Frosh. at Central Michigan University Kayla Backus. When living at home during high school, a lot of kids are spoiled with ginormous bedrooms and never ending closet space. So when transferring over to a dorm room the size of your old closet at home, the downsizing can be quite extensive.

It can be scary having to move away from your parents, siblings, and friends, so having a helpful R.A and upperclassmen by you can make the experience a lot easier! “Another pleasant surprise was how helpful everyone is! The professors, T.A’s, and R.A’s all care about you and are willing to help!” said Vanderstoep.

An exciting thing for a lot of incoming students are all of the college sports that are available right around the corner. “One thing that surprised me is the large amount of clubs/IM teams you can join and sporting events you can watch! There are so many opportunities to get involved in! said Alli Vanderstoep. However, with all of these fun, exciting activities comes a lot of distractions. “What’s surprised me the most so far is how difficult it is to actually sit down and concentrate on homework because there are always things going on around the dorms, so you never want to just sit down and do it until late.” said  Banaszak. Once again, time management is key to staying on top of both your work and your social life.