As you finish up high school and begin your long round of good-byes, you should look at college with much expectancy. Here’s what changes you can expect over the next several years.
Your schedule will be different, even unusual. High school offered a rigid schedule, one that required you to get up early five days each week. Each day seemed the same even if some of the classes were different. In college, you will make up your own schedule, choosing the classes you want to take and the times too. Clearly, if you had difficulty waking up early for high school classes you can adjust your schedule to rise later in the day with afternoon and some evening classes available to you.
Old friends will change, new friends will arrive. A handful of your high school friends may choose the same college as you do. Even so, they may not be the same people you hang with while at college. That’s understandable as your course of study may diverge and new people come into your life. Accept these changes even if they hurt at first. Allow people to find themselves — go and do likewise!
Make friends with your professors. The teacher-student dynamic changes while you are in college. In high school, that arrangement was mostly distant. In college, professors want a collegial relationship and that is good. You will find that professors want their students to excel and the normal teacher-student relationship, while still there, has changed and matured. Go with it — you will learn more.
Take some risks: it will do you good. It is easy to find a pattern for college and to stay in it. We love our comfort zones, but they can also be confining. Take some risks while at college including challenging yourself in new areas. Maybe a double major is a good idea. So might be a semester or a year abroad. Or, agree to head up a club or a committee. Just do something that helps you to push the boundaries out a bit further.
Grow from your mistakes. You will fail. Miserably so. Unfortunately, some students look at failure as the complete loss of everything that defines who they are. Do not take yourself so seriously. Use failure as a springboard to your pending success. There are lessons to be learned in everything that you do, including in your mistakes.
Your belief system will get rocked. No matter what you believed before attending college, those beliefs will come under assault. Not all challenges to what you believe are bad, however. If you truly have a certain faith or political belief that defines you, those challenges can help you determine whether the beliefs are your own or belong to your parents only.
Maintain your health — it can be difficult to regain it. The typical college student is 18 to 22 years old and has youth, energy and the good looks to go with it. You may feel invincible, but you are not. Health decisions you make at a young age can have consequences that can last a lifetime. Eat right. Get enough sleep. Save sex for marriage. Maintain an exercise regimen. Stay in touch with those that love you. If a health issue comes up, do not ignore it.
Time passes quickly, so make the most of it. There may be a reason why some students take five or six years to complete their college education: they do not want to let go of a good thing. That’s understandable because college offers an experience that will soon be over. So, make the most of it and enjoy the ride — you won’t get another chance to enjoy it expect perhaps vicariously through your own children. Even then, the experience is entirely their own.
The day you turn your tassel you will realize that you are a far different person than the one that entered college less than four years earlier. Change is good as it will help you adjust to more changes that will certainly come your way. How you approach these changes will hinge largely on how you responded while in college, so be open to those experiences that can impact you in positive ways.