We have a few myths to cover. Ten, in fact. Starting with how your move-in day is supposed to go and your potential relationship with your roommate. Next, is it actually fine to skip class and party all the time? Then, the dreaded freshman 15, and whether that’s seriously a thing or not. Following that, you have homework and homesickness. Or do you? After that, gen eds — are they seriously that boring? And are people going to look at you funny if you eat by yourself in the dining hall? Finally, the end of your freshman year and where you’re going for the summer.
A lot happens during your freshman year of college. So keep an open mind, go with the flow, and remember these myths…
1. Move-in day will be the best day ever
Yes..and no. Carrying boxes and huge piles of stuff into your new dorm or apartment is a pretty great feeling. You finally have your own space. But that space is also shared with someone else (maybe even a couple people) and it’s about half the size of your bedroom at home. Welcome to the zero privacy life of college dorm living.
Then you realize that Mom and Dad are actually gone. The first few days will be a blur, then reality sinks in. You’ll have to do your laundry and dishes. You’re the one deciding what to eat for dinner (and sometimes even cook). And of course, you also have to get yourself out of bed in the morning. Life’s rough.
2. Roomies have to be BFFLs
Yes, it can happen, but don’t hold your breath. Having a good roommate can profoundly impact your college experience. But if you have a rotten apple, remember, you can always switch after room freeze is over.
Your roommate can either be a supportive sounding board, or they can be another body in the room while you sleep at night. You don’t have to be best friends, but it is easier if you can at least talk to each other.
Piece of advice: If you roommate is the reason you’re calling home crying to Mom or you dread going back to your dorm room because they’re there GET OUT. You don’t need the added stress that comes with a poor living situation. Also, talk to your RA, it is literally their job to help you with this.
3. It’s okay to skip class
So you’re one of 300 people in your Chemistry lecture, it’s okay if you skip once in a while, the professor will never notice, right? WRONG.
During one of my calculus lectures, freshman year of college, the professor actually took attendance and gave points because 75% of the class decided to skip on the same day.
If you’re at a smaller, private college, your professors will definitely notice if you’re gone. In fact, I was sick one day and before the class was even over, the professor had emailed me to make sure I was okay.
Plus, why would you want to skip a class that you’re paying hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars to take? How does that make sense?
4. Life will be a constant party
Contrary to popular belief, college life does not consist of beer pong and flippy cup every night. You will have to clock a lot of hours with your textbooks to be successful.
Find a social life/school work balance that works for you. And no, you don’t have to drink to make friends or have fun.
Freshman year is also your chance to start over. Decide what’s really important to you–you’re not there to impress everyone else, it’s not high school.
5. Freshman 15 is unavoidable
This is a lie. There are about a bijillion ways to overcome the notorious freshman 15. Here are a few:
- Walk to class — don’t take the bus
- Don’t eat pizza every day — you’re not a child
- Don’t drink a case of beer every weekend — you’re underage anyway
- Avoid late night binging
- If you’re a mindless muncher, grab fruits and veggies instead
- Spending an entire day at the library? Take the candy and chips out of your backpack
- Find a fun class at the rec center to do with friends (e.g., yoga, zumba, synchronized swimming, etc.)
6. You don’t have to do homework your freshman year
Pretty good joke.
Here’s the breakdown.. Big schools + no homework = you don’t learn the content and you fail. Small schools + no homework = professor notices, you get called out, you lose points, you’re embarrassed, and your grade suffers.
Many professors are also using online platforms to assign homework these days. They don’t have to grade it, students get instant feedback, and it’s easy to keep track of who does it and who does not. Do yourself a favor–do your homework.
7. You’ll only be homesick at the beginning of the year
For some, this is true. They get used to being on their own, and they’re good to go.
Unfortunately, I’ve found that homesickness is directly related to my stress level. So, when I’m really stressed (midterms, finals week, right before a big presentation) I spend a lot of time on the phone with my mom.
Then there are days where you’re sitting at a coffee shop, hanging out with your friends, and someone says something that your dad always jokes about. Which makes you think of him. And then you realize you sure could use a hug.
There isn’t always a rhyme or reason to homesickness. The best way to handle it, in my experience, is to not ignore it. Talk to your friends about it. Also, chances are you’re not experiencing it alone. The stronger your supports at school, the less frequent the homesickness will become.
8. Gen Eds are all boring and have nothing to do with my major
We’ve all heard it, the goal of a liberal arts college is to make you a “well rounded individual”. Whatever that means (freshman 15 aside).
Yes, some of them will be super boring–unless it’s your thing, I wouldn’t recommend philosophy. But others can be really cool. My best friend took an Entomology class, which basically means she collected bugs for a semester.
I took a lot of random gen eds, but you’d be surprised how many little tidbits from those classes turned up in papers for my major classes. So take something crazy. Have fun with it.
9. If you eat alone everyone will notice and think you’re weird
This was me my freshman year. And then I realized people do not care.
You might have had a big group of people you ate with in high school, but in college you eat when you can. Usually you’re running back from class to get food while it’s fresh and then running back out to make it to an afternoon class.
Additionally, there will always be people eating alone in the cafeteria. If you’re in a large campus you’ll even see people eating alone in restaurants. It’s a thing. Don’t avoid the freshman 15 by not eating.
10. You won’t want to move home for the summer
Just kidding. This isn’t a myth–if you’ve done freshman year right, it will be very true.