What it’s like to be a student in a U.S. college
If you’ve ever seen a U.S. college movie then you already have an idea in your mind of what going to college in the U.S will be like. Big campuses filled with benches and tables, people sitting on the grass talking and studying, chilling, taking breaks. It may seem like fun and games, but there’s a lot more to college than movies would have you believe and that’s what we’re here to tell you about. From what to study, to what to expect on your first day in college, we’ve got you covered.
A crucial part of college starts before you even get there – your last year of high school. Why? Because in your last year of high school you have to start thinking about what college you would like to go to and what it takes to get there. People choose colleges from different reasons – some people choose the college with the best frats and sororities, some people want to go to ‘party schools’, some people want to go to colleges that specialise in only one field of study. There are so many things to consider, and while you may think you should pick the college that everyone thinks is the best, there are other things to consider. It’s important to not only get a great education, but to feel comfortable and happy in your surroundings. There’s no point in going to a college that’s going to teach you all the knowledge in the universe if you’re not going to be happy there!
On your first actual day at the University, everything is pretty exciting. More often that not, your university will have special events on the first day of college, sometimes even for the first week of college, for all the new students, and boy can they be fun. This is one of the best times to make friends so don’t be shy. Get out there and talk to new, interesting looking people; arrange to meet up with them for coffee, or a drink (if you’re 21 of course!) Don’t get me wrong – some of the people you hang out with in the first week of college you may never see again, but that’s okay. If you’re lucky, you’re gonna stay in contact with at least a few of the people you meet in that first day and first week. Who knows, you might end up being friends for all of college, or life!
Next hurdle – accommodation. Most of you will have this figured out by the time you get to college, but let’s run through the options and weigh up the pros and cons of each. If you’re really lucky, you’ll be able to afford to get a place by yourself or with a few close friends. Pros – you won’t have to deal with noisy dorms, sharing bathrooms or any of the other stuff that comes with having so many students in one place. Cons – it can be pretty expensive. Next best thing if you ask me is staying in the dorms. The dorms are a great place to make friends and keep up with all the social events (and gossip) going on. You’ll have communal areas to hang out in and chances are you’ll be pretty close to campus. The disadvantages? Sharing bathrooms, noise and in some cases lack of space. Some of you may end up living with your parents during college. It might seem like this one has a lot of disadvantages, like lack of freedom, feeling like your parents are still on your back etc., but think about it, if you’re living at home then you’re probably not paying rent and you can assume the fridge is going to be magically stocked 80% of the time. Sweet!
What next? Lectures. Oh yes people, we all know lectures are an integral part of college. The difficulty of your lectures and the dedication you need to go to them will depend largely on your subject. For example, if you’re studying English, what’s the point in going to a lecture on a novel you’re not going to write about in the exam? On the other hand, if you’re studying something like science, then you’re probably going to have to go to all of your lectures to learn new formulas and reactions every day. We’re not telling you to skip lectures, but let’s be realistic – you might not make it to all of them. The best piece of advice I can give you? Never ever, for any reason, miss a class where you get credit for just showing up. These classes exist people. Find them. Use them to your advantage.
Finally – have fun. College is bound to be one of the best experiences of your life so soak it all in and enjoy every minute of it. Make friends, learn about a subject you love, join societies, take risks – the world is your oyster when you’re in college so take advantage of it while you can. You might even learn a little bit more about yourself in the process.
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