Let’s face it, whether it’s because your high school years consisted of marathon-watching every season of Boy Meets World, Greek and 90210, browsing through Her Campus on the daily or listening to your Frat Star brother’s tales of blackout keggers, one-night stands and too many pastel polo shirts, you probably have some pre-conceived ideas of what college is going to be like.
Don’t believe everything you hear! To separate fact from fiction, check out the truth about these six common college myths:
Myth #1: The Freshman 15 is inevitable
Reality: With all-you-can-eat dining hall food, weekend nights of drinking (usually accompanied by late-night snacking) and busy schedules that seem to leave no time for exercise, weight gain can be an easy trap to fall into.
But not everyone packs on the pounds. Many collegiettes even find that their scale number goes down freshman year!
“Maybe it's because I go to a city school and there's a lot of walking, but I actually ended up losing weight when I went to college,” says Kelsey Mulvey from Boston University.
“I didn’t gain anything because I didn’t live on campus! I actually lost a lot of weight because I would work out every day,” explains Hailey Craig from Columbia University.
So don’t freak out! The Freshman 15 is totally avoidable with the right mix of self-control and exercise. Check out HC's "5 Ways To Avoid The Freshman 15: How Real Girls Did It", “Pick It or Skip It: Dining Hall Edition” and “15 Ways to Get Gym Motivation (That Actually Work)” for more tips on keeping college weight off the healthy way.
Myth #2: You will drown under piles of homework
Reality: There are most likely going to be times when you feel like your academic workload is slowly crushing the life out of you, but hey, there were probably also times when you felt similarly in high school. College is usually not much more difficult than high school, just different, as is explained in HC’s 5 Ways Your College Classes Will Be Different From Your High School Classes.
No one is going to force you to do your work like your parents or teachers might have done in high school. You need to handle your newfound independence and learn to manage your time.
“You do get a lot of homework, not going to lie,” says Hailey. “But you just have to make a study schedule to help you out. This will help you TONS because if you get it done right away or when you’re not busy, you will have plenty of time to mingle and have fun!”
To stay on top of homework, try keeping an assignment notebook, tracking due dates on your phone or on a calendar or planning days to work on long-term assignments so they get done a little at a time. You should think about every week ahead of time to know when you’ll have free time to study.
A lot of the time, you won’t have very much homework on a day-to-day basis because most of your assignments will be long-term, not short-term. It’s important to make sure you still do a little bit of work every day even if you don’t always have something due the next day, or even that week, to avoid creating stressful situations.
So, yes, if you have a 20-page research paper that is assigned at the beginning of the semester and you wait until the night before it’s due to start writing, you’re going to have a bad time. On the other hand, if you find the right balance between work and play, you’ll be golden.
Myth #3: You won’t have a social life if you’re not in a sorority
Reality: The truth is that sororities aren’t for everyone. If your decision to rush is based solely on thinking it will get you an instant friend group, you might want to reconsider.
Although the social component can be a major factor in rushing, it shouldn’t be the only one you consider. If you’re still having trouble deciding check out HC’s Collegiettes Weigh In: To Rush or Not to Rush?
While many colleges have a large focus on Greek life, there’s always a social scene outside of it. “I'm not in a sorority and I had a fabulous social life in college,” says Erica Avesian, a recent grad of University of Michigan. “As long as you put yourself out there and make a point to meet people, you will be just fine. There are plenty of other social organizations to join.”
You’ll be able to find a group of people you love to hang out with without going Greek, so if sororities aren’t your thing, don’t join one!
Myth #4: College guys are more mature than high school guys
Reality: Although high school boys don’t magically become men when they enter college, this one really does depend on the individual.
Many of your male counterparts will still act incredibly immature. They’ll want to play video games and sleep around and spend the majority of their time with their even more juvenile friends.
“College guys are even more immature than high school guys in my opinion. They think they can get away with everything now that they are away from their parents,” says Erica, a student at University of Michigan. “Sit in a room full of frat boys and you will feel like you're in the cafeteria with a bunch of seventh graders.”
But mature college guys DO exist.
It is possible to meet guys in college who have future goals, a savings account and a sense of humor that doesn’t revolve around farting. Some will learn how to act like adults – you just have to find them. Try looking for boys in your classes or at your club meetings rather than at frat parties and bars. They’re more likely to have things in common with you and want a more serious relationship.
Myth #5: You won’t have any fun if you don’t drink
Reality: Drinking is common in college, but that doesn’t mean everyone does it. In fact, there are a large number of college students who never drink.
Drinking should always be a personal choice, not one you make because you think it’s expected of you. If you don’t feel comfortable, then don’t do it!
This totally doesn’t mean that you have to sit in your room while your friends go out. Contrary to what some may think, you’re allowed to be sober at a party. Getting your dance on and flirting with cute boys don't depend on blacking out, or even having one drink. But if you still end up feeling uncomfortable, try carrying around a cup of water or soda so no one asks you why you’re not downing drinks.
Party scene still isn’t your thing? It’s definitely possible to have a social life outside of it.
“I don't drink, and about four or five of my friends don't,” says Hailey. “If it bothers you that all your friends drink and you don’t, talk to them about doing non-alcoholic activities.”
Try having a movie marathon, going to a concert or doing karaoke night! Drinking isn’t the only way to have a crazy-fun college weekend.
Myth #6: Everyone has a ton of dating and sexual experience
Reality: A big fear of many collegiettes is not having enough romantic experience as an incoming freshman. But this should never be something you’re worried about. The dating and sexual history of every single person you meet in college will be different; no one has gone through exactly the same things!
“A lot of girls go into freshman year thinking they're big losers if they haven't swiped their V-cards yet, when in reality, that's just not true,” says Quinn Keaney, a recen alumna of the University of Pittsburgh. “Just because they never met the right guy (or girl) in high school doesn't mean they'll be doomed to the same fate all through college.”
According to HC’s Ultimate College Girl Survey results from 2012, 43 percent of girls entering college are still virgins!
Whether you have lots of experience, no experience or somewhere in between, it doesn’t matter. College can be a time to change things up, keep doing what you’ve been doing or just get started. Don’t lose sleep about what others are doing or have done in the past, just focus on you.
So collegiettes, now that you could probably be the star of a college-themed episode of Myth Busters, you should feel ready to have an amazing year at whatever school you’ve chosen. The truth is out, use it!