A Freshman Reflects Part 2: College Expectations vs. Reality

Autumn Grady, Contributor

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For all you social media lovers out there, pictures of partying and sororities overwhelm your newsfeeds. “OMG I love my biggie!!” with the cliché hand sign is posted at least 3 times a day, even more times during the weekend. Then it really is the weekend and here come the over-the-top game day outfits, clever university puns, and yeti-filled tailgating fraternities. You never see the pictures of students doing what they actually do 85% on the time: studying, working, going to class, and practicing their sport. This is the expectation of college compared to what college really consists of.

When thinking of universities and colleges, you think of nothing but mixers, parties, football, and basketball. That is all that seems to exist in college, right? So you begin to picture your college that same way. Wrong. College isn’t always about keg chugging at the weekend mixer or front row tickets to the basketball game Friday night. I realized coming to college that most students actually have their priorities straight. This took me by surprise because I became so used to seeing all the social media posts and hearing from older friends about the party life. When in reality, most college students spend their time on the weekends working, studying, or even going home to visit family. Some weekends kids will turn up and have fun, but those weekends are far and few in between for most students. Yes, people get together and have some fun, but rarely ever is it every night and every weekend.

As far as homework and class work goes, I never had any clue how much work I would truly be doing. They say in high school, “You’ll be so flooded with your workload you won’t have time for much of anything!” I, being one of the top students in my class, didn’t give much if any thought to what they said because it was a rare day that I actually studied for an exam or test without passing with a high grade. If I had a time machine, I would go back and physically knock some sense into my brain because was I so wrong. I have learned that a homework assignment will take at minimum 2 hours, and that’s a simple one! Studying for an exam makes you feel like you’re preparing to take a life-altering test; to fail makes it seem like you will fail out of college and live in a box, and to pass makes you feel like you will be the next CEO of some high-end company. Coffee becomes your lifeline, and naps are seen as sacred and cherished. Stress becomes a part of you and when you don’t have it, you stress about why you’re not stressing. You never see this side of a college student of social media, and no one ever gives you a heads up to you as to what kind of fast paced, walking study zombie you will become.

The freedom to choose what I do and how I spend my day is wonderful. No one looks over my shoulder and tells me exactly what to do and how to do it. If I want something done, I have to do it on my own. I believe every human being needs this in order to become fully independent. I’m learning to become an adult, and I feel as if that’s exactly what I need in life right now. Mommy and Daddy aren’t always going to be there. The independence and freedom I have within myself surpasses my expectation for college, and I am proud of myself for accomplishing that within me.

There’s nothing I would change about college. Expectations and reality are determined by me. I make my experience how I want to make it. To sum it up? I love Wesleyan and who it has made me.

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