- You lose your ability to wake up for class:
It’s true. Whether your first class is at 8 am or 12 pm, waking up on time will be a challenge tantamount to getting admitted to the university itself. Even if you got the same number of hours of sleep in your school days and managed to wake up at 6 am nonetheless, you won’t succeed once in college. No one knows the science behind this but it is something we’ve stopped questioning.
- You learn to reset your internal clock upon whim:
Gone are the days when your body responded to a fixed schedule. Upon entering college, you have now been granted the amazing ability to sleep and eat at any time, place or dimension. You can survive on no sleep, and you can sleep off 24 hours. You can starve the whole day in the library, and you can eat a football team’s worth of Cheetos at a time. It’s like magic!
- You can’t leave off revising until final exams:
Most school systems work in a way where final exams are either externalized or constitute the major percentage of your grade, so you can manage slacking off the entire academic year if you pick up your pace at the very end. Sadly, university doesn’t work that way, and by losing out on attendance, quizzes and various other assignments you basically lose out on a good overall grade. In an ideal situation, you should study well consistently throughout the semester. (You do, however, have greater chances of bs’ing your way through exams and essays more than you ever did in school!)
- You need to work to make friends in class:
In school, you are likely to fall into a routine with the classmates you see and sit with every day. While this also happens in college, the shortness of the semester and the diversity of your classes makes it a little harder to get to know new people. It also gets complicated when courses are open to more than your own academic year. In order to avoid being isolated by already established friend groups within a class, you need to make an effort to interact with everyone you see and strike up friendly conversations on topics of common interest.
- Budgeting is a thing:
But budgeting is always a thing, you say. Of course it is. Budgeting in college, however, is slightly more complicated – especially if you’re a hostelite. Handling your finances well is something you should always be concerned about because frankly, no one else will be. You know your own budget, needs and capacities, so it’s best not to let others stray you from your well-calculated financial plan when you’ll be the only one facing consequences. Some splurging is always enjoyable when affordable, but living out the “broke college kid” trope is never fun.
- You have unprecedented levels of freedom:
This can be both a good and a bad thing. Why? Because freedom entails *gag* responsibility. Either way, it’s exhilarating to not be answerable for each and everything you do throughout the day, whether you’re a day-scholar or a hostelite. Being a “college student” brings with it a certain expectation of “adultness” that lets you get away with so much you couldn’t do before. Rejoice, because you’ve earned it.
- You sometimes miss your lack of freedom:
Everything has a catch, doesn’t it? While being free of unnecessary restraints is well and good, there will be times when you’ll crave to be treated like a kid who can be absolved of all responsibility. After all, you’re still a child at heart who needs someone to pamper you, feed you, handle your finances and make important decisions for you.
- Everything has bigger consequences:
Failed a final? Whoop, there goes your CGPA. Got into a fight? Cool, this suspension would look nice on your CV. Got into a relationship? Cue secret mental calculations about chances of someday getting married (wait, what? I’m still a kid!) to current significant other. It is a fact that everything that takes place during your college years is of greater overall significance as compared to your school days because (a) you are expected to own up to all your actions and pay for them and (b) your actions at this point in life directly lead towards your dreaded “real” life as an adult, with no buffer in between.
- You get a chance to reinvent yourself if you want to:
For those who spend their entire childhoods within a single city, community or school, it is very easy to fall into a certain role or character that can define you as a person. College can give you a chance to reevaluate your wants, needs and fears and act accordingly by embracing all sorts of new opportunities thrown at you. You can break away from any self-imposed mental constraints and start afresh without the fear of judgment or appraisal.
- You value friends and family more than ever:
This is likely the most eventful time of your lived life, and you will undoubtedly go through various transformative experiences. Since no experience is really an experience unless shared, it is important to have a strong backbone of loved ones to fall back on whenever needed. In times of tears or laughter, desperation or exhilaration, you will form relationships of an unmatchable strength. Cherish them.
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