SparkNotes Blog

17 Things No One Tells You About Starting Your Freshman Year of College

College is just one of those things you won’t truly understand until it happens to you. In this way, it is not unlike being attacked by a bear. With both bear attacks and college, you may THINK you know what to expect, but you’re probably wrong and now you’re screaming and flailing your arms a lot and also death is surely coming.

Anyway, here are some of the things no one will bother to you about starting your freshman year of college.

1. Your professors are not as professional as your high school teachers said they would be. They will ask you to call them Brad, and they will sometimes cancel class for no reason other than they feel like it.

2. Wait a month before skipping class. I’m not going to tell you not to skip class ever, because that’s a fool’s game. I’m just going to tell you to wait a month. That way you’ll know if you can get away with it.

3. If you’re going to date someone in your hall, prepare for it to end badly. If you can’t handle avoiding eye contact with this person in the elevator on a Friday night while the seventeen expired Little Debbie snacks you requisitioned from the vending machine are spilling out of your arms, you have no business dating anyone who lives in your building.

4. Take your math classes early. If you’re not majoring in something math-related but you still have a math requirement, do it sooner rather than later. By senior year, you will have forgotten all the algebra you ever knew.

5. You and your roommate don’t have to be best friends. Hollywood would have you believe that your roommate will either be a) your best friend in the whole world, or b) genuinely plotting to murder you. However, it’s much more likely that the two of you will simply coexist, part ways at the end of the year, and then never speak again while occasionally liking each other’s Instagram posts.

6. Ice breakers are never going away. In my opinion, hell is just a series of college professors saying, “Okay, guys, let’s go around in a circle and say your name, your major, where you’re from, and one fun fact about you.”

7. Your friends first semester might not be your friends second semester. Sometimes the only thing you have in common with someone is that you are both suffering through Cultural Anthropology 101 three times a week.

8. Don’t bother going to the dining hall during Welcome Week. Don’t waste your meal plan. There’s free food everywhere. You won’t be able to walk through the Student Union without receiving upwards of twelve tacos you didn’t ask for and don’t actually want.

9. If you have communal showers, always bring your clothes in case you get locked out or there’s a fire alarm. You don’t want to be the person shivering on the sidewalk in naught but a towel because some dude named Kyle who’s never successfully used a microwave before just tried to make popcorn for the first time in his life.

10. Getting sick in college is the easiest thing in the world. The person with a cold will always come to class and sit by you, and they will ask to borrow a pencil. And you will give it to them because they’re kind of cute and also you possess an intrinsic need to be liked.

11. Everyone jaywalks. That’s just something that happens. You can either wait for the light to change like a coward, or you can bow your head, grit your teeth, and face the possibility of your imminent death like a hero. It’s your call.

12. Getting up for 8 AM classes will be much harder now than it was in high school. In high school, I woke up at 5:45 AM every day for four years. In college, you could have set my bed on fire and I still wouldn’t have deigned to roll out of bed before 9:30.

13. Picking next semester’s classes will be an exercise in existential ennui. It will feel like a life-or-death battle in which your entire future hangs in the balance, and since you are a freshman, you will probably pick last.

14. Whether your professor is a Bond villain or Mother Theresa depends entirely on when they schedule the midterm. If it’s before spring break? Mother Theresa. After? Bond villain.

15. You’re going to screw up. You’re going to screw up SO BADLY. It’s inevitable, and totally fine. You’ll live.

16. In college, anything goes. People will be playing card games in the stairwell. People will be eating pickles and Captain Crunch in the library at 2 AM. Someone will tell the professor he prefers to go by the name Mad Dog, and so Mad Dog he will become. There are no rules. Chaos reigns supreme.

17. It’s okay to be homesick. Everyone is calling their mom and missing their dog. You’re not the only one. But all of those people will make it through, and so will you.