My First Year of College: Expectations vs. Reality

Yep, it definitely got interrupted, unlike any other normal school year. But it was still what I had been waiting to experience since I was introduced to the college path.  

I wanted to share a few of my expectations, and the reality, from what my freshman school year was like at my university. Just to clarify, this was my personal experience with my university, meaning others could have different perspectives or the college may be different for others. 


Expectation: I would never have time to myself to relax, or to hang out with friends. I would constantly be doing homework or studying.  

Reality: I had the perfect amount of relaxation time, time to myself, to discover more about who I was, and discovering my friend group. Walking into the university for the first time, I had expected the worst. In which I wouldn’t have time to establish good enough relationships with the people around me. I told myself my mental health would be going downhill until I got used to the environment around me. This was all washed away when I entered the dorms, and also going to my first class. At least at my university, we were all about creating relationships and keeping up with our mental health. I was able to create a balanced routine with myself to truly set myself up for greatness academically and socially.  


Expectation: I was going to be alone in my academic struggles and be the only self-conscious student in my classes. 

Reality: Nope, you aren’t alone. Which of course is a cliche, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is such an important message that everyone is in the same boat as you. It is okay if you don’t know where to go, or you don’t know how your teacher will be, or how to properly sit in a lecture. Everyone is thinking the same thing. I would talk to the people around me, and it was nice to hear the same worry or responses from my own worry. I was put at ease, and slowly as school went on, I learned to just go with the flow. It is all just a learning experience, so just go for the ride.


Expectation: The school is too big for me to handle. 

Reality: You get used to it, of course. Luckily, I lived on campus, so I was able to explore the campus on my bike on the weekends or after class. It is still crazy to me that I know my campus at the back of my hand, with how massive it is, just from one year there. But if you are worried about the size of the campus, if you’re looking for tips, just get a map before-hand, map out your classes, and walk around a bit the day before classes start (if we are ever back on campus again). And remember, people, are there to help you. So if you want to find a building, ask around.  


Expectation: Parties are amazing in college. 

Reality: Sure, some of them are, some aren’t. I have some experiences with good parties, and bad parties, so I shouldn’t have had such high expectations. Again, I ended up just going with the flow for parties, and allowing it to be a good or bad party, whatever I choose in the end. But I was there along for the ride. I just wouldn’t recommend having too high expectations, not at least from my experience. 


Expectation: Everyone hates you because you are a freshman. 

Reality: I feel as though this is dependent on certain schools, but so far, I haven’t experienced a situation in which I was put down for being a freshman, or from any of my other friends at other universities. If anything, I have just received help from others and kindness. Most of the time, people can’t tell or won’t ask as to what year you are in college. From my experience, don’t worry about it, you will most likely get treated the same.

So in the end, the main thing I have learned about my experience as a first-year at my university (before we got interrupted), is to just go with the flow. People will be people, and in college, you can only control yourself, your routine, your habits, and your relationships. So, just go along for the ride…

Love always, 

Casey :)

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