Think College is All That? Think Again.

Written by Jyra Ang

Whether sitting apprehensively in front of the computer screen on the day that college entrance test results come out, constantly refreshing the unwavering page or standing in front of the tall boards with innumerable papers that determine your fate; when you spot your name – seemingly insignificant amongst the other hundreds – the feeling of exuberance and excitement is unexplainable. After almost an entire year of prying open heavy review books, forcing yourself to add yet another layer of studying to the already difficult school year – laced with the inevitable senioritis – college life is finally about to begin.

However, there is an idealistic perception that hypes up the experience too much. There certainly are moments within that first year where you wonder why you ever thought college life was all that. Inevitably, there are trials and obstacles that one must overcome, but that is what makes it all worth it. Here are 3 hard truths about college life.

3. Despite the lighter schedule, you will almost always be tired.

You may think that spending 7 straight hours of class, sitting down on the same seat back in high school was exhausting, but nothing beats college fatigue. Although classes may start later in the day (with longer breaks in-between), the constant walking around from building to building in the scorching heat of the unforgiving sun is more draining than it seems.

Factoring in the heavy workload that keeps you up until the early hours of the morning makes college all the more tiring. Everyone has those moments where they feel significantly more unmotivated, exhausted, and just out of it. Sometimes, we need to remember to take a break.

Relax, have dinner with friends and grab a drink, there is nothing wrong with ditching your readings for a night out with friends once in a while. Worrying about being too stressed will just lead to more time being used unproductively. Of course, make sure these nights are limited; it should not be a weekly (or even monthly) experience.

(READ: How to Feel Less Overwhelmed: 5 Helpful Habits for Busy College Students)

2. It is not that easy to make friends.

Whether an introvert or extrovert, it is difficult to find a solid group of friends that will understand you as well as your high school or childhood friends do. You are essentially being thrown into unexplored territory, not knowing where to go, who to stay with, or who to trust. It is a lot like trial and error, attempting to decode the intentions of those around you. There are days where you just want to go back to high school and surround yourself with familiar faces and personalities that you had spent years analyzing and comprehending.

Even the question of where to look for said friends is left unanswered. Are these long-lost friendships hidden in your block, in an organization, or perhaps in a class? It may be an uncertain journey, but that is also what makes it worth partaking in. They say the best relationships are those that are unexpected; so always be up to try something new, whether it be talking to that guy in your Math class, or adding that girl you met at an event. You will never know the potential of a relationship that could blossom if you don’t make the first move.

1. You cannot please everyone.

With a wider group of acquaintances, more time on your hands, and significantly more freedom than before, the temptations of cutting a class to have a meal with close friends or catch up on sleep instead can certainly test your resilience. There are moments where peer pressure outweighs responsibility, and this is when you have to draw the line and say no.

It is okay to say no; sometimes you have to. It is impossible to both do work and to go out, especially when you are on a time crunch – one must come before the other. On the other hand, each professor for each class is different and sometimes it is difficult to see and understand what they want from you. Other professors are very open about their favoritism in class; and although this can be unfair to some, it is not something you can change. In the end, you must simply need to trust yourself and do your best in everything that may come your way.

College is a blindfolded roller coaster ride; you will never know what is coming your way. Always remember — roller coasters do not only have downs, but ups that complement them, as well. Just enjoy the experience and expect the unexpected, and guaranteed, you will get off that ride with the largest smile on your face.