As you prepare to enter your freshman year of college, it might be a good idea to clear any preconceived notions that you’ve learned from movies, family members or your friends. Most of what you think you know probably isn’t true. While we had to figure out just how different our freshman year would be on our own, these experiences will be a perfect guide of what to expect—but more importantly, what myths to steer clear of.
1. The friends you make at orientation will be your BFFs all throughout college
Lindsay Fuce, a sophomore at Gordon College, thought that she’d be close with her orientation friends throughout the year, if not all of college. However, that quickly changed. “I would say by the time second semester rolls around you don't even see your orientation friends anymore!” she says.
After meeting a couple of girls that seem cool, you might be thinking, “Wow! We’re going to do everything together, I can’t wait!” While it is a great thing to meet new people right away, the ones you interact with at orientation most likely won’t become your best friends. Unless you both exchange numbers and really make an effort to hang out all the time, you’ll go your separate ways. This is because you get caught up in different classes, dorms and lives.
2. You have to get involved in a lot right away
Throughout the first couple of weeks, you’re going to be overwhelmed with the variety of different things on campus that spark your interest. While it may be tempting to join multiple clubs or throw yourself into a lot, it’s important that you don’t. Not to say that you shouldn’t get involved at all, but you shouldn’t commit to more than what you have time for.
Mollie McKinley, a junior at High Point University, learned that sitting back and weighing her options was better than committing without knowing what everything entailed. “In the words of Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, ‘Don't half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing,’” Mollie says. You’ll be glad you did.
3. You won’t have any fun unless you join a sorority
Upon arriving for school, you might notice that a lot of girls have already moved in and made friends. This is only because most schools require those rushing a sorority in the fall to move in a week early in order to begin the process. If you decided beforehand that Greek life is not for you, then don’t second-guess that! If you are genuinely interested but missed your shot in the fall, there’s always informal recruitment in the spring!
Whether or not you’re in a sorority will not determine the amount of friends you make or fun you have. There are still plenty of opportunities to meet new people throughout the year, so don’t worry. Jane Griseham, a junior at TCU, learned this after being upset throughout the first couple of days at her school. “I genuinely thought that I wouldn’t know what parties to go to or have anyone to hang out with. I was completely wrong, it just took me a week or so to stop being ridiculous.” Myth busted!
4. Ramen will be all you eat
Why is college so often associated with ramen noodles? Yes, it’s cheap and a quick meal—but there are plenty of other options. For example, most colleges require a meal plan for freshmen living in the dorms. Dining halls have a large variety of food, including plenty of healthy options. Even if you get sick of eating there, you can still get creative with what you’re eating.
If you don’t have a meal plan and really want to stick with ramen, at least switch it up with different variations. Haley Koralek, a junior at Fort Hays State started eating like this after deciding against a meal plan. “I wanted to be able to eat well, but on a budget,” she says.
5. You’ll be lost on campus
There’s no doubt that finding your classes on campus can be difficult, but you have to remember that every other freshman is just as worried. To calm these fears, a lot of colleges place student ambassadors throughout campus to guide new students to their classes or answer any questions they might have.
Jenny Williams, a junior at the University of Central Florida, used the Maps option on her iPhone instead. “I felt kind of stupid, but I looked up the address of the building I needed to go to, plugged it in and clicked the ‘walking’ option,” she says. “I just kept doing that until I memorized everything, and it worked.” The point is, even if you’re too shy to ask for help, there are other ways to conquer campus!
6. You can skip class all the time
Technically, you can skip class all the time–but you shouldn’t. Yes, you finally have the freedom to do what you want, but with that, comes responsibility. It might be easy to justify skipping a lecture that doesn’t take an attendance to sleep in, but you’re only cheating yourself.
Most importantly, you’re paying for that class. If you end up failing, you can’t get that money back. Additionally, skipping one time can turn into multiple times because it’s a hard habit to break. Susette Garcia, a sophomore at Kansas State University, had an 8 a.m. class every day, meaning she was always tempted to skip. “I looked it like this: either I could skip, and waste even more time trying to get caught up, or just go and be done with it for the day,” she says. Trust us, it’s not worth it.
7. You’ll still be super close with your high school best friends
As sad as it is, you’re going to grow apart with your friends from home. You’ll all be meeting new people, so it’s natural to not talk as much as you used to. However, you can still make an effort to catch up with them and even plan a visit to their school after you’ve settled in.
Sarah Archer, a sophomore at New York University, lost touch with her friends, even with one of them attending the same school as her. “We still talked every once in awhile, but it’s a big campus and we ended up going our separate ways,” she says.
As you continue to count down the days until move-in, don’t let yourself worry about everything you think you know about college. Instead, get ready to experience everything for yourself!