There are some things you brace for when going to college: sharing a room, being away from home, and eating from a dining hall. However, as is life, we are hit with the unexpected. Here are 10 surprising hurdles of college life.
Changes in Scenery
If you’re traveling a long distance to get to Marist, as is the case with our international students as well as students from across the country, you are most likely prepared for the change in weather. However, seemingly nothing can prepare students coming from warmer areas for the first time the temperature dips into the 50s, let alone for first snowfall. Even for in-state students such as myself, there are changes to adjust to. I still get excited to see the adorable groundhogs that have made their homes on Marist campus.
The first time a professor said “Please, call me Alison” my first thought was “I’d rather not.” It felt uncomfortable– for thirteen years of school, we’ve addressed our teachers with prefixes and last names. My high school teachers warned us that professors typically go by Doctor, and to not forget it. I wasn’t expecting professors who give out their home phone number as a resource for questions or go by their first names. While this level of familiarity is unexpected and foreign at first, I’ve found it fosters a great classroom environment.
Laundry is a given factor for life at any college. This is a new task for some, but for most, it’s a regular chore. The challenge lies not in the act of laundry, but in the act of doing. The simple fact is that not doing laundry takes 100% less effort and is 100% more appealing than actually, you know, doing laundry. You just got back from class– would you rather fold the monster of laundry sitting on your designated “Stuff Chair” or watch Michael Scott manage a regional paper supply chain? We all know the answer.
Eating A Balanced Diet
I know. The most annoying bullet. This is not about the freshman 15, a phenomenon many students are overly preoccupied with, but about nutrition for a healthy body and a healthy mind. Ramen is quick and easy, but make sure to get an apple in there when you can. A supportive and responsible diet is key to a healthy and functional college life.
Getting Sick at College
College or no college, getting sick is the worst. However, getting sick without your family around may be a new and challenging experience. Without my mom bugging me to make a doctor’s appointment, my early October sniffles quickly develop into a week of tissues, Advil, and soup from the dining hall. Keep an eye on your immune system!
Free Time in the Middle of the Day
Coming from a seven hour high school day, hours of flexible space between classes sounds heavenly. I’m sure it is for any student who can be easily described as responsible, organized, and self-disciplined. For a student like me who will take a nap whenever she can, it means going sleepwalking to your 3:30 class. Good thing there’s a Starbucks on the way!
Finding A New Balance
Throughout high school, you find what works for you. You learn how much time you need for homework, how many clubs you want to keep up with, and how much time to spend on yourself. This was always a particularly challenging part of school for me, so it stands that it would be equally challenging at college. During your first college weeks, you may find you need to allocate your time differently. Perhaps even though you did four clubs in high school, the same number at college seems twice as taxing. It’s normal to need to take a step back and reevaluate your resources, which include sleep, time, and happiness, and adjust accordingly.
Timing the Weather
Anyone in college knows the weather app is your best friend. We’ve all heard the tragic story– a student sees clear skies and walks to class. However, an hour and fifteen minutes later, the same student is stuck walking back across campus in a torrential downpour with no umbrella. Preparation is key, folks. You have to time your walks to class with appropriate attire for the weather, which means checking the hour-by-hour weather report. I mean, or don’t. It’s your game of Russian Roulette, not mine.
Missing College When You’re Home
This is one I definitely was not anticipating. I had never lived away from home, not even for a sleep-away camp. I knew homesickness was going to hit after getting to Marist. While I actually ended up having a smooth transition, I still found myself counting down the days to my first weekend home, when I could see my dogs again. Oh, and also my family. And while that weekend home was great, I also found myself missing my friends at Marist. Students often find that even though going home is nice, major FOMO is also in the deal.
Your Own Expectations
While we all know that movies do not reflect reality, it’s hard not to hope for that perfect college experience: the best friend roommate, a new relationship, a perfect indie movie group of friends. When you’re a week into college and have yet to make a solid friend, it’s easy to feel like you’re doing something wrong. You aren’t. Making a life at college is a process that takes time. Allow yourself to relax and take that time.
About Marist College:
Located on the banks of the historic Hudson River and at its Florence, Italy branch campus, Marist College is a comprehensive, independent institution grounded in the liberal arts. Marist is consistently recognized for excellence by The Princeton Review (Colleges That Create Futures and The Best 384 Colleges), U.S. News & World Report (8th Best Regional University/North), Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (“Best College Values”), and others. Marist educates approximately 5,000 traditional-age undergraduate students and 1,400 adult and graduate students in 47 undergraduate majors and numerous graduate programs, including fully online MBA, MPA, MS, and MA degrees.