There’s no doubt about it—most of our earlier years are devoted to preparing for college. Standardized tests, AP tests, the SATS, college admission exams… everything we worked for since practically kindergarten boils down to this: college. We’ve heard so many things about college (whether they’re true or not), and it goes without saying that we’re more than a little nervous diving into it so fast.
But now that we’re all actually here, it doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Still, we could have used a few pointers. Here are a few things we wish we knew before coming to the big league:
Most of your money will not be going to your tuition but to food. Hello, Freshman 50.
With Taco Bell, Subway, Qdoba, Round Table, Panda Express and so much more on our campus, it’s hard not to get carried away when you’re hungry. Not only that, let’s not forget that Cha for Tea, In-N-Out, Chipotle, Panera and all those amazing eats are just a short drive away. Nothing cures that college stress better than a heart attack worthy meal, am I right?!
Even if you were forced to do it for the first 18 years of your life, waking up for an 8 a.m. class in college is next to impossible.
We are college students pressured to do well in school, get a job, be involved on campus and have social lives. Sometimes there are simply not enough hours in the day, and that unfortunately means that “sleep” isn’t always in our vocabulary. Something I wish I knew before coming to college? 8 a.m. is never a good idea. You can tell yourself you’ll go to sleep early all you want, but college is all about those all-nighters, folks. Love yourself; forget about that 8 a.m. and get some sleep.
That being said, coffee is your best friend.
I was never a coffee person before college; in fact, I completely hated drinking coffee. Nowadays, it seems like I can hardly function without at least one cup in the morning. With a Starbucks located so close to all my classes, I got to Gold Level within two months. Please don’t ask me how much I spent reloading my rewards card. I’m not very proud of it.
It’s perfectly fine not knowing what you want to do with your life just yet.
Apply to college undeclared, spend your first two years taking random General Education classes, switch your major when you realize that you want to do something completely different—literally no one will judge you for it. College is the time to really figure out who you are; you’ve spent four years in high school being told what you’re supposed to do, and college is the time to make that decision for yourself—regardless of anyone else’s opinion. Enjoy that freedom!
You’ll have little to no energy for all the parties.
This is it. After watching unrealistic movies like Neighbors, Project X, 21 & Over and Pitch Perfect, you’ll think it’s finally your time to have an insanely amazing social life in college—parties that don’t end until the sun rises and crazy adventures in the middle of the night; this has been everything you’ve been waiting for. Except you probably didn’t anticipate having 15-page papers to write, or group projects to do by yourself, or staying up all night to study for an exam you totally underestimated. Parties? What are those?
Even though failing is okay, failing is not okay.
Cal Poly Pomona (CPP) is amazing enough to have an awesome grade forgiveness policy for its students. But that definitely does not mean we should take advantage of that! Don’t start ditching every class, don’t get lazy with your homework and projects, don’t fall asleep in class—you’ll regret it when you realize that the class you are skipping is a pre-requisite and you’ll need to retake it to advance in your program. Pass the first time and your life will be so much easier! Need some extra help? Don’t sweat it! The Learning Resource Center (LRC) in the University Library (Bldg. 15-2919, 2921) offers services in person and online for students in need of tutoring. Utilize your resources, Broncos!
Being a commuter sucks.
As a commuter myself, I can honestly say it’s the worst. There’s traffic, there’s horrible drivers, there’s the insane battlefield we call the parking lot… it’s not a fun time. In addition to that, as an incoming freshman commuter last year, I needed to make an extra effort to feel included in campus activities. As a commuter, your mentality is basically go to school, survive class and go home. It’s easy to hate college with this mindset—stay on campus for a bit and embrace all of the awesome events that Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) puts on for your enjoyment!
Living with a horrible roommate sucks.
This is the person you’re going to be living with for at least a year and if you get stuck with someone you can’t stand, life is going to be hard. Hopefully, you aren’t that horrible roommate we all despise; remember the dos and dont’s of living with a roommate and you should both get along fine.
Despite the many things that do suck, it’ll be one of the best experiences of your life.
It will be stressful. It will be time consuming and it will take all of your energy. However, it will also be a fun, unforgettable and an irreplaceable experience. The people you meet and the things you learn will always resonate with you, and that’s what college is really about.