Four Things That Surprised Me About College

College is Full of Surprises

There are a lot of cliches about college. Even friends, family, and former students can give you false information.

Every school (and people's perceptions of them) are different. And sometimes people just flat out embellish (you know those people). 

Looking back on my time, from freshman to senior year (and that one extra semester), I can definitely say that I was surprised by a few things, and from the conversation I’ve had with other Academbot writers, they were surprised by these things too. So for everybodies sake, let’s put some of those platitudes to bed.

Four Things That Surprised Me About College

  1. It’s not like what parents said: We’ve already written a whole blog on this, but it’s worth writing about again. The “college” your parents experienced isn’t the same one you’ll experience. Teachers don’t really let you skip, parties don’t really pop up in random fields, and it’s not really easy to pick a major. Don’t let parents get your expectations up or stress you out.

  2. You can’t really “skip” class: This isn’t the 1970’s anymore--almost every class you take will have an attendance sheet. It’s lazy grade giving on their part (haha, yeah they’re the lazy ones!) but professors are now obsessed with making you come to every class. Personally I think it’s a little vain (like no one could possibly get a good grade if they miss a precious lecture).  

  3. Every school is not a “party” school: When you hear a school being called a “bar school” that means that you’ll get caught and punished for drinking under age on campus. As a result students will go to the bars instead. These schools aren’t the party schools you’ve heard of, and school security doesn't just “look the other way” at drinking. Be careful and make sure what kind of school you're going to. 

  4. People are super nice: As soon as you get to campus (after loading everything into your room) you'll realize that everyone is there to have a good time. People want to make friends, find something to do, and explore the world they’re going to be living in for the next four years. This adventurous feeling makes everyone happy and friendly, and they're also happy and friendly in order to find friends. Make sure you’re nice back.

Academic Matters College Advice College Life

Why Do We Make New Year's Resolutions?

We make New Year's Resolutions because of how bad we are at keeping the previous years' resolutions. 

Last year I was supposed to hang out with family more, work on my art more, and exercise better. So this year, I came up with resolutions again. 

But the problem with most New Year's Resolution, like the one's above, is that they're too vague. They're more whims than goals. You can't measure them. 

Binge watching tv shows and movies is as deeply woven into the American Winter holidays as hot chocolate, gift shopping, and football games in the snow.

Those lazy days centered around comfy couches occupied by you, your friends and family exist in a world free of judgement—the phrase “It’s winter break” and “I’m on vacation” obliterate any argument for you to be more productive and less languid.

I mean it’s only fair right? You work hard, you need a rest, and there are just so many awesome things to watch.

The days following your last exam is a time to let go of your stress, sell back all your textbooks and hope that you won’t forget everything you’ve just learned. But at some point during those dormant Winter days you should reflect on those five months of first semester madness.

Winter breaks never last as long as they should. As soon as you get settled into the comfortable nest of life back at home, protected by the “I just had finals I’m on my break” excuse, the time flies by and next thing you know you're re-packing your bag.

Between the first day of break and the last, be sure to take advantage of all the luxuries that you somehow went without. If you do, chances are you’ll have a very good, cherishable break.

It’s common not to know what you want for the holidays until you see it, and it’s common not to know what you want to have in college until it’s too late. Because of this commonality, we’ve made a sweet little list of presents you could ask for that would make your college life easier, more fun and more interesting.

Take a look—but remember—always shop with care. 

College is just one of those things we take for granted. We think of it as something that we're supposed to do, something we have to do, and definitely not something we should be thankful for. 

But that's not right. There are some amazing things about college that are worth thinking about, and worth showing respect for. 

So we made a list. It’s a very good list. It took a lot of pondering, a lot of reflection, and we did it to make us all think about just why college is such a spectacular, global tradition. It’s our Thanksgiving Thankful list.
 

While finals week is undeniably draining, your mind is still in the mood to learn over Winter break. It’s just like having a really tough workout...after you’ve had time to rest, your body starts to want to workout again.

Still, it’s pretty easy to ignore these strange desires. Winter breaks are usually made up of mindless fun, excessive sleeping and a plague-like avoidance of anything academic. If you choose to spend your break in this fashion, go for it. No judgment here.

People like to say that “you find your people in college.” Well, many of us found them in high school and we don’t want to lose them.

In many ways high school friends feel like family. You know each other’s parents. You’re from the same town. You can remember each other with braces. This puts you and them in a very exclusive group that simply cannot accept more members.

So this begs the question, what happens to them now that you’re heading to different schools for four years? The drama will vary, but these following things will happen:

A required meeting with a school professional has been engrained into our psyche as something to not look forward to. We put very little forethought into the matter, wait till the last minute to prepare, and try to keep it as short as possible.

In college you’ll be required to have about one meeting a semester with your student advisor. If the goal here is to roll in, stay put for the 20 minute slot, be agreeable and have your advisor mark “yes” on your account so that you can sign up for the next run of classes, you’re missing the whole point of college. 

Linkedin is a site young adults use to become something better.

They set a trajectory for their career, connect with valuable people in their field, and work on defining their mission in the business world. It’s a pretty sweet way to get where you wanna go after college.

Now Linkedin wants future and current college students to use Linkedin Edu

College campus tours are a bit like a safari. It’s your first time in the wild, you’re mystified by the range of species and how they’re interacting with each other, you’re told to observe, but not to engage.

The thing is, unless you’re a zoologist, or a baboon, it’s tough to know what to be looking for.  

Freshmen at St. Mary’s College of Maryland tend to walk to class a little hastier on their birthdays. They keep their head down, their eyes shifty, and their phone and wallet back in the dorm. Of course, these are futile efforts, which are inevitably thwarted by seemingly “good” friends who are commanded by tradition to hunt down the birthday student and toss him or her into the body of water that sits beside the school. 

There are hoards of endorphin fueled college students—made up of both non sporty and highly sporty people—who stand color-coded, painted, and proud, waiting for their chance to yell into any camera that comes near. They aren’t fearful of future employers or the concern of their parents. Nor are they foolish bimbos on spring break. They are ancient disciples of a timeless American tradition. They’re college football fans.

The point of listing your extracurricular activities is to give colleges an idea of who you are and not just what you know. Unfortunately most schools don’t have time to meet you or check out your tumblr (where all charming personal nuances lie) so in order to prove you are more then a metric of math and AP Lang, you need to tell them what you do outside of class.

Of course, playing Super Smash Brothers for hours on end or re-reading John Green novels isn’t as impressive as helping the needy, so we usually focus on the later.

Have you ever heard of The Humanities? It’s fine if you haven’t, I hadn’t heard of it either until my senior year of college, which was a little late to mention something so essential to human thinking.  

The Humanities is the study of human culture. Big Brother could get thrown in here, but what we’re really talking about is sociology, psychology, philosophy, history and literature. The interesting stuff. 

But why are these things so interesting? The short answer, is because people are interesting.

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