EXPECTATIONS VS. REALITY: What being a Freshman is really like!

Words and Photos by Gemma Casimsiman

Before you take your first step as a college freshman, you really don’t know what to expect. Some say it’s worse than high school while others say it’s the best years of their life. Scenarios start to form in your head, not knowing what to think, I bet. But, don’t worry. I was on that same boat 2 years ago.

Quick background: I came from an all-girls school. I was a really shy person who refused to put herself out there. It’s okay if you’re the same. That’s what college is for. So, to reassure you of what’s to come, let me clear your mind and give you the reality of what’s it truly like to be a freshman.


Expectation: Considering you all came from different schools, you’re probably expecting that you and your blockmates won’t get along. Unless, of course, you’re the friendly type of person. You’re probably expecting cliques already formed on the first day, those coming from the same school sticking together.

Reality: Since it’s just the first day, it’s no surprise that this type of thing really happens. But, there’s no one to really blame. People love to stick with what’s familiar but being in a new environment challenges you to step up. The reality of making friends is putting yourself out there. Some are just as shy as you are but that can change by putting your best foot forward.

WhenInManila.comGemma Casimsiman


Expectation: People have probably already told you which orgs to join. When recruitment fair arrives, you’ll feel some pressure by the number of students advertising their orgs. In the end, you expect to chicken out and not join any orgs at all.

Reality: Orgs are one way of improving on what you already have, as well as discovering skills you didn’t think you had in the first place. Sure, the pressure is real but once you take a good look, your eyes will flit over to booths that interest you. There’s no shame in joining orgs you know nothing about. Some join knowing nothing while ending the year with an important position in their hands.


Expectation: Your parents have probably already told you that you can only have a boyfriend/girlfriend AFTER you graduate. But, at the same time, some say college relationships are the best kind of relationships. As a freshman, is your focus solely on academics?

Reality: It’s up to you whether or not you want to have a romantic relationship in your first year. Frankly, during my first year of college, I experienced infatuation and heartbreak all in the first semester. Your goal is to make it through the year with no distractions and, hopefully, end the year with dean’s list written on a piece of paper.


Expectation: Various upperclassmen (or even relatives) had already warned you about which professors to avoid. Not knowing what to do, you’d sit at the very back, not wanting to be victimized by their sermons and insults. If you’re not as lucky as the rest, there’s a seating plan and you’re seated at the very front. Your options are to either cut class or drop their subject altogether–don’t.

Reality: I’ve had block mates skip or drop their subjects just because of terror profs. Honestly, I was a front seat victim. But, it’s from them I learned not to breathe for a long time. Joke! Kidding aside, they’re the ones who’ll teach you about quality. They’re a big help, especially when it comes to your thesis in the near future. My advice? Just smile, nod, and listen.

See also: 5 Types of Professors You’ll Encounter in College


Expectation: People expect more from you. They’ll emphasize that you’re an adult since you’re already in college, especially if you live in a dorm. You’re going to feel scared because there’s no life orientation on what college is supposed to be. You’ll be afraid to ask for help because they’ll say you should know all these things.

Reality: Being a freshman is a direct road to independence. You don’t have to know everything there is to know about being an adult because you’ll learn that on the way. You don’t know how to do things? Ask. No one will judge you because they’ve been there before. Scared? Don’t be. You’re surrounded by people who can help you. Your fellow classmates, upperclassmen, friends from the other blocks—they’re your second family and they won’t be leaving you behind any time soon.

WhenInManila.comGemma Casimsiman

As a freshman, expect to have a lot of ups and downs. Not everything will go the way you want it to be. You’re not going to have a lot of friends on the first try, not everyone will like you on the first day but, being a freshman is a chance to grow. And the reality of it all is it’s the first step to find out who you are and who you can be.