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15 Things People Didn’t Tell You About Your First Year of College

So my freshman year of college has come to a close. It’s been a few weeks into summer break and like most of you, we’re all pretty excited to be out in the sun and thinking of everything but homework and exams. With this said, and in honor of high school seniors graduating this past weekend, I wanted to make a list of things that people DIDN’T tell you before you left for college. So to all the upcoming college freshman – buckle up.


It’s actually really hard to get into the “swing” of things

For me, and I know for most, it was hard to just simply get a routine in motion. Back when you were in high school, you normally had a good flow to your day and weekends, you had what you were used to for four years. Going to class, running to practice or your after school job, then coming home to a meal, some homework and bed. Weekends were full of the usual Friday football games and late night runs to Culver’s. That’s just pretty much what we knew, we had our routine. But then you get thrown into college and that routine is completely tossed aside; you have to start all over again. Everyone told us that the transition from leaving home to college would be hard – but I really wasn’t ready. Ready for not just living somewhere else, but the basic adjustment to new eating schedules, sleep schedules, fitness schedules, studying schedules, and an overall different social life.


Everyone talked about how cheap you would end up being in college, but it  doesn’t always hit everyone that way.

As for myself, I was barely getting by freshman year, but for some people, money just wasn’t an issue. Some people are really humble about the fact that their parents were able to pay for their college; and maybe even a new car to bring to school as well, but others liked to put it largely on display. You’re around a huge new group of people with a lot of different personalities that you may not always have gotten the chance to see before. So get comfortable with some people flaunting what they have more than you’re normally used to. And if you’re the one flaunting, pleaseeeee take the hint.


It’s almost like the paper you whipped out the night before it was due is actually better than any of the papers you started a week or two ahead with.

I know, shocked me too. But stress gets the mind running I guess.


The staying up late and studying till 4 AM really doesn’t happen all the time, like it’s shown in movies, TV shows and social media.

College to me, from the many memes and things I had heard, sounded like all people did was study and stay up till the AM cramming for tests. As much as that most definitely did happen at times, it wasn’t a daily or weekly thing. I actually found myself going to bed earlier than I did in high school most of the time. Of course a lot of classes are obviously different loads of work for different majors, but your freshman year is mostly GEN EDs and all I can say to HS seniors, is enjoy the little free time GEN ED classes give you until it’s soon gone.


The times you will honestly only dress up and “look good” for class is if you’re trying to impress someone or you JUST bought a really nice new outfit, of course with the money you basically don’t even have.

I swear, you’re going to see it all around campus: robes and slippers in the cafeteria, the usual undone ratty hair, all of it, everyday. And the best thing? No one cares. Seriously no one cares at all how you look. But then, out of literally nowhere, you see that someone who walks into class with a sweatshirt and PJ pants all semester long suddenly has curled hair and a full face of makeup on with a really cute outfit one day. I’m telling you, it’s all for a reason. Either they’re trying to impress someone or it’s a brand new outfit. Gotta be one of them.

But with this said, college is sometimes a really intimidating place. For me, seeing so many gorgeous girls sometimes wearing the most perfect outfits, and having great hair, etc. made me feel really horrible about myself at times. And for someone who already has body image issues, it was especially not helpful to me to feel this way. Do not do this to yourself. Just don’t. You’re in college with so many people in the same school as you, some from all over the country and even from out of the US. There’s so many people that they truthfully are not judging every single little flaw you have on you. Jab at the extra flab on your arms all you want, but people really aren’t putting all their attention and focus on dissecting your flaws. And I can bet that the majority of them don’t even SEE the flaws that you see! All I can say is that each and every one of you were built and created a very specific way, you are all unique and beautiful in your own way. So just because you’re suddenly surrounded by tons of stunning people, don’t make that change the way you think of yourself when you look in the mirror, because yes, you’re stunning too.


Coming back to your living room couch at home would make you instantly water eyed.

I was always told coming back home was always the best part – the home cooked meals, your room, your bed, the familiarness of everything. But I was seriously not at all prepared for basically wanting to cry the first time I flopped down on the family room couch. It was like every memory I had hit me and it was something I had not been expecting. It felt like I was still in HS and just coming back home from school and going to casually sit and watch some TV. It was just so sad because as comfortable as that moment felt you knew it wasn’t going to last and it would never be the same as back when you were fully living at home.


You seriously won’t remember a single thing that was said at freshman orientation – other than the really awkward ice breaker moments you had and when you tried to be outgoing and talk to someone but they didn’t hear you, so you acted as if you didn’t say anything and weren’t feeling super awkward and antisocial.

But I mean, props to the people who happened to find some of their best friends at orientation! You’re the lucky ones.


You’ll miss your dog a whole lot more than you were expecting.

I love my dog, I absolutely do, but no one informed me on how much I would miss my dog’s annoying bark, or the dread of always having to take her out to the bathroom, etc. I was never given the heads up that the main priority that needed to be done the first day I visited home was to lay on the floor with my dog for a good 30 minutes – minimum.


You basically will set records on how far out you push your load of laundry before you need to pay to have it washed or finally drag it to your parents house if they’re close by.

Nuff said.


Seriously, no one cares whether you are considered “popular” or “cool” because those words do not exist in college.

Yes, there are some people that are all-star athletes or super attractive and continuously go out with just those type of people, and you yourself may feel less when you’re around them, but please don’t. Because it’s college – no one cares about every single person’s life, to be honest, and no one is popular. It just something that isn’t there anymore like it may have been in high school. A good amount of colleges are much, much bigger than high schools, so you can’t care enough to feel “unpopular” to a group of people that seriously can’t be “popular” in such a large student body that cares less about every single person in it. Even with smaller colleges as well, popularity just isn’t there. Students are too busy with school and work and in the midst of the craziness that college life brings. Everyone in general, becomes a lot more themselves in college because of the fact that they feel they don’t need to force relationships or be fake. Since everyone is busy being themselves, they don’t even feel the need to feel “ranked” on a totem pole. The totem pole is nonexistent.


Personal space or “alone time” is completely thrown out the window.

Unless you have a single dorm room, it’s just not gonna happen. There’s no privacy. So don’t freak out and just go with it. You most likely won’t have a car on campus, you sleep in a room where you can see your roommate at all times, and you share a bathroom with an entire floor of girls normally. You just have to deal with it. Deal with showering next to people, going to the bathroom next to people, brushing your teeth while someone’s in the bathroom, and just having a roommate. That’s life for the next year or two, or until you get your own house or apartment. Thats college people, you have to deal with it.


The first person you meet in your class will not always be your best, lifelong friend.

Don’t force friendships. If you meet someone nice on your first day, don’t make it set that you guys have to be and are bound to be best friends. There’s hundreds and thousands of other students on campus. You have a lot of people to meet, so just ease into it.


With that said, you won’t always meet “a ton of people and friends” right away as we have often been told.

You won’t always make friends as fast as you had hoped, and thats fine. Don’t force relationships like we said earlier, and don’t be in a rush. Do though, join clubs and engage with people in class to meet others. It’s not a big deal though if you don’t meet as many as you were expecting, or found a close friend as soon as others have. Let people come into your life as they should; it’s a much better way to really meet those real, lifelong friends.

Additionally, don’t waste your time with “fake” friends. In college, you are going to be going out a lot to parties, at least most will, that’s totally fine if you’re not into that. But there are some “friends” that you will find yourself with that you only, and I mean only, hangout with when you’re going out on a Friday or Saturday night. Honestly, don’t waste your time with those people. It’s a fake relationship. Its you guys laughing at how dumb the other one is acting that night, taking Snapchats of one another for your Stories, walking back to your rooms and then crashing. All to barely talk the entire rest of the week, but to have the next weekend be the same thing. What even is that? Its not a true friendship. It’s not even a friendship in general. College is about finding people who have the same interests as you, who understand you, who have your back, and change your life. It’s about meeting people you’ll make incredible memories with and have for years to come. REAL friends. Strive for that, because those relationships actually mean something, they impact you. Your fake, Friday night friend(s) really doesn’t do much for you.


You will have random, mental breakdowns at any given moment of the day.

It just happens. You may walk in your dorm and your roommate is on the floor in the fetal position crying – totally normal, it’s all good, that’s just how it is. Let it happen, comfort them or give them their space, as they should do to you when it hits you randomly, and it will. You just mentally break down. Life decides to hit you like a ton of bricks, all at once. The stress is almost too much a points, from school, work, friends, everything in a busy college student’s life. It’s all just a lot at times. But then, after a little breakdown, you’re suddenly right back up and going strong a few minutes later. You will get through it, trust me.


You sure as hell won’t be “finding” yourself anytime soon.

Honestly for me, I think I “lost” myself more than I came anywhere near finding myself in college. And a serious round of applause to those who did manage to find themselves, like what they want to do in their life, and their goals, and accepting themselves for who they are – really, good for you, that’s amazing. But for some of us – that just did not happen what so ever. I personally thought I was going to go into college and really discover who I was, what I was put on this earth to do, my passions, my goals, my dreams, and actually go at them and start accomplishing them. But that didn’t happen. Yeah, I had some experiences that pinpointed a few things for me in my life, but I really ended up more confused. I was lost and unfortunately still am. But I think that’s okay, because that’s the whole journey of it. We’re not all similar, some people found who they wanted to be there first year of college or even in HS, and others could just barely recognize themselves in the mirror at time, and that’s fine. Everything in due time, I believe. I think we have a plan for all of us, I think that some things happen for a reason, so just wait for your time. You may be lost, and not knowing what you want in and out of life, but just give it time. Don’t rush. These are seriously precious years in your life, you’ve heard it been said before, so don’t push for the answers, let them come to you through your experiences. Let yourself go out and experience the world and gain opportunities that can HELP bring you towards a better understanding of yourself and what you want out of this life of yours. I came into college thinking I would finally know what I wanted to do in my life and that my negative body image and self esteem would be something my freshman year would allow me to overcome, I would learn to love myself – one of my largest challenges. That’s what I thought would happen for me. It actually ended up a lot worse then before I came in. And it’s hard, it really really is, but it just means my journey isn’t over yet. I still have a lot more ground to cover and so do you if you’re in the same boat. So just let it be.

With this list said, thank you to the blogs and articles that actually did help incoming freshmen buckle up a little for our first year at college. You were extensively read and highly appreciated so THANK YOU!


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Katerina Haros - Mindful Living Company - Professional Photography


You can call me Kat! I'm a Milwaukee native, always looking for something new to check out, whether that be in MKE or across the world. Follow my blog and social for all things travel, inspiration, lifestyle and living mindfully.

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