When I was in high school all I could think about was college. The prospect of a new city, new friends, and fashion classes excited me. Rather than focusing on my geometry homework I put all of my effort into finding the perfect school, dorm room décor, even a messenger bag to carry my future books and laptop. Needless to say, I had an extremely naïve and glamorized perception of college.
As it turned out I did not end up attending my dream school. Nor did I purchase that exquisite Anthropologie loveseat for my dorm, or even buy that messenger bag. All of my expectations about college had failed to come true. I had focused all of my time and energy on the most ridiculous and minuscule details of college. It wasn’t until I stepped foot in my 15- by 13-foot dimly lit dorm room that I had this realization.
Planning, expectations – and then there’s reality
We all have expectations of how various events in our lives will pan out. Some of those expectations turn out to be wrong in the most wonderful way. That was the case for me -- it just took a while for me to make this acknowledgement.
Prior to arriving at school I envisioned myself making friends the moment I arrived, attending the most interesting classes, and many other scenarios I am far too ashamed to admit. The reality was: I spent the first few hours at school crying on the phone to my sister. I didn’t find my group of friends for at least a good week, and some of my classes bored me to tears.
My first year of college was like nothing I had anticipated. I made friends and roommates, and lost both just as easily. Midnight cram sessions, arguments with friends, and emotional breakdowns alike -- I am grateful for it all. Freshman year was filled with endless trial and errors.
I learned who my true friends are, the best way to study for an exam, how early I have to leave for each class and so on and so forth. No amount of college preparatory books, movies about college, or college checklists you find on Pinterest will really change your college experience. I thought that if I planned everything before leaving for school then I would have the most perfect year.
Don’t live in the future
To all of you incoming college freshmen or high school students: Don’t try to plan everything out. While it is important to have some sense of where you are going and what you want to do, you need to let what’s meant to be, be.
When you go to college, maybe you’ll be best friends with your roommate or find your niche on a sports team or in an extracurricular. Until you are actually at school you have no way of controlling that.
I wasted so much time in high school looking ahead to the future that I didn’t get the full high school experience. Enjoy the days you have left of high school. Appreciate the fact that you have people to cook you homemade meals and do your laundry, and that you don’t have to sleep in a lofted bed. It wasn’t until I came home for the first time after being at school that I realized just how easy I had it back home.
As cliché as that may sound it is one hundred percent true. You don’t need to have every intricate detail of college planned out in high school. Not only is it a waste of your time but it’s also impractical. Exit out of the Ikea website and open that geometry textbook before it’s too late.
University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin.
Hometown: Eagan, Minnesota.