hi everyone!

i've been thinking about it for a while, so here i am! this will be a serie of articles about things i've experienced that some people might go through in the future. i know i like reading other people's experiences with things that scare me, or that make me nervous. i went through all kinds of experiences BUT it doesn't mean that what i'll say will automatically be THE only truth about that experience and that you can't have a different experience. i'm just talking about my point of view and how it impacted me, and hopefully, you'll get something interesting out of it!

i decided to start this series by one of the things that impacted me the most as a kid. college always seemed to be such a faraway idea that i never took the time to consider what it might be like, or how i'd adapt to it.
so i thought that i should start with that!
ps: i'm from France, but i'll try not to go into details that might be specific to a country, and will probably be vaguer about it!

1. being alone

to begin with, we should talk about loneliness. most people fear that, when it comes to school in general. what if i don't have friends? what if i don't fit in?
although it might be hard in middle school/high school, it's not really the same with college. i personally had just a few people that i knew from my hometown, with whom i tried to be friends - it didn't work out, and we talked once. the only friend i had didn't take the same courses as i did and we ended up seeing each other only during a week, for general, pre-semester classes.

so i was alone, in a town i didn't know, to do things i had no idea about.
but the thing with college is, you're not the only one. it's rare to find large groups of friends coming from the same place. although this might be a bit specific to towns that are mostly based of students.

in any case, you're never the only one. it's rare to end up in small classes (although i did... we're only 10 lol), so there'll always be someone like you! even if you're not really talkative, or not really good when it comes to social stuff. you'll have to talk to people at some point and you might discover some good friends! i did, anyway, through an activity at the school library, and it really helped me out a lot.

school, college, and university image
so many people in a room, someone obviously must be a friendly match for you!

2. finding your path

i think that's the thing that everyone stresses about at least once (probably a lot more) in their life. how to know if you've chosen the right one?

that's something you might not know right away. some people know during the first month; this is not what i imagined it would be, i don't wanna do that. but it takes more time for others, to figure it out. my advice is, if you think it's not right for you, but still aren't sure, try to stay at least a month (until you are perfectly sure that it doesn't suit you). the first month of the first year is extremely confusing: high school was just too different.

in college, you are your own master. it's like high school, but freer in a way. you have to get used to this (for example, waking up knowing that you have a long and boring class, and having the choice to go... or not). if you thought that you had it hard with administration before, it's gonna get worse. your timetable will be REALLY different, as you may have your last class at 8 pm.
teachers might also see you as adults, and be rough on you with work sometimes. it happens. but you might also have incredibly nice teachers (too nice, sometimes, as my constitutional right teacher would spend his 2 hour classes by telling us stories about presidents, and... not what he really was supposed to teach us, but it was fun and interesting).

what really is the hardest, is how much new information you get. it's the case for a lot of subjects (not every class uh but a lot). i personally study law and languages, and studying law... the first month was hard because i had no previous notion to use as it's not something you see in high school.
but you will get through this! that's why it's hard to know if you made the right choice or not during the first month. i personally decided to wait a bit longer, and i feel somewhat satisfied with my choice.

study, study notes, and note taking image
intros are the hardest to deal with, at first, but taking efficient notes will help!

3. changing paths

it happens. actually, now that you reflect about it, you don't feel like your studies suit you. they're not right, they're not what you want, you start to feel bad about going to classes knowing that they aren't interesting to you...

change it. you have the power to do so (even if it might be more difficult in the USA? not sure). this is YOUR future, and YOU are the only one who can tell if you like what you're doing or not.

if it doesn't suit you, if you don't see yourself working in that field in the future, then drop it. it doesn't change your own value. actually, i find people who are able to face the truth about their studies very brave, as you make the choice to try out something new. it's brave, and it's not making you a failure, or a burden, or an idiot.

book, girl, and hair image
reflect, but don't stress yourself out. you'll do it, you'll be fine, you're not alone

4. failing

whether it's failing in choosing the right path, or failing at a test, or at motivating yourself enough to go to that 8 am class, it happens. if you go to college, you'll fail, at least once, at something. your grades might not be what they once were in high school.

i feel like teachers expect more of you in college (well, most of them). when you have a busy timetable (whether because you have a lot of classes or because you're working part-time next to it), it becomes a bit hard to really give your all into every class.

but it happens to e v e r y o n e ! seriously. everyone gets a bad grade now and then, and i got my worse grades in college. you discover a lot of new notions and new methods to learn. it takes time to really accept that, not everyone suffers from a lower GPA (i think that's the word?) than in high school, but most do.

don't be afraid of failing. that's what allows growth and progress, and it'll be for the best at the end.

breakup and test image

5. studying and homework

people have said it before to you, but high school was manageable without studying. now, in college... it won't be so easy, unfortunately. you're entering an area which has been made to be detailed. it's all about details. you might already know the big picture of the field you're going to study about, but college isn't about the big picture.

so you'll have to study. i suggest that reading the notes you've taken during the day might help you out with this. asking questions if you didn't understand BEFORE the final (if you are shy and don't want to ask the teacher, ask your friends, there are no dumb questions). take time to summarise the notes you've taken, as you don't want to realize that you have to learn 100 pages the week before your final.

it's the same with homework. if you have an hour between two classes, do your homework. summarise your notes. search for the principles you didn't understand. what was meant for more relaxed stuff in high school isn't meant for that in college.

these are things people find out at the end of the first semester because everyone prefers to go out and relax somewhere, or take a coffee, or something else... but when your last class is at 8pm, and you go back home at 8:30 or 9 pm, and you still have to take a shower and eat, and you actually have an hour of homework + your notes to change... it becomes a lot.

homework in college aren't really high school's homework. they're longer, or, well, harder. it depends on your college, but they generally are, and doing them as soon as possible gives you room to change it and not handle a bad sheet (especially if you're not doing good, you NEED the good grades you know you can have).

so really, whenever you have time, work for your classes. you'll thank yourself later on!

coffee and girl image
work with your friends, with food around, motivate yourself and it'll be easier!

the end

that was all for this one!
as you might think, i did forget some points, such as taking notes. i plan on going through a lot more details that could fit in a single point, so i'll write a complete article about it.
i hope this might help you. college is scary, it is terrifying, but it's not as bad as you might think. some college also work with the whole "guide" system, with an older student showing you around and helping you out (i find this quite useful, but never got to try it).
also! partying might make you lose time to study, but it might also help you bring your stress down. it is your own choice, but please be careful with that.

anyway, hope it helped. please tell me your opinions, and maybe your own experiences with college?
if you have any questions, please come talk to me! (on here, or on my twitter if you want, @ringzisasavage) (i'm nice and would love to answer your questions if you have some)
see you around soon!