1. Your friends become like your family. And it will still that way. It’s not that you’re replacing your family, it’s just that you’re learning how to create a comfort zone and form a support group for yourself no matter where you are. You can’t bring your mom to college, and you can’t bring your sisters when you move to a new city for a job. College teaches you how to form relationships that will get you through the times that are scary and lonely. College teaches you how to expand your family.
2. Nothing comforts the ache of a bad breakup like junk food, wine, and your best friends. You go through a lot of breakups in college. Sometimes it’s a breakup with your high school sweetheart, sometimes it’s a new fling in college that never came into fruition. Sometimes it’s a breakup with a friend from high school that you grew apart from. Whatever it is, you learn that the only thing that truly heals you is time. But while you’re waiting for that to happen, it doesn’t hurt to be surrounded by Oreos, Barefoot, and a bunch of silly girls that can always make you laugh.
3. Arbor Mist is always a bad choice in drink. It’s cheap, it’s pretty, and it tastes like candy. But it just ends up making you feel sick, bloated, and nauseous. And more sober than you’d like to be.
4. The first time you come home, everyone eyes you up and secretly tries to figure out how much weight you gained. This is uncomfortable and makes you feel very insecure. But it’s just one instance in a lifetime of many where people will try to make you feel inferior or guilty because of your appearance. Forgive yourself if you gain some weight while adjusting to a new place and a new way of life. As long as you’re taking care of yourself, don’t apologize for having a little extra fun.
5. Stealing plastic forks and spoons from the dining hall is just the beginning of a long life of trying to get free stuff. It probably costs less than five dollars to buy a box of one hundred forks and spoons. But it’s just so much more fun to steal them from a place that’s charging you about a billion dollars to get an education.
6. Sometimes you form deeper friendships than the ones you had in high school, and that’s okay. College is a time for you to grow. You’re still exploring the world and feeling uncertain about yourself, but you’re also not as afraid to be true to yourself, to be genuine, and to be unique. It’s a time where you start not only accepting yourself, but liking yourself for who you are. So it’s natural that your friendships become a lot deeper and stronger because of that openness.
7. Your hangovers hurt less in the morning if you go to bed with a full stomach, a glass of water, and some Advil. There’s never been a better excuse to eat three pieces of pizza and then become comatose for ten hours.
8. Sorority recruitment is both the worst and best thing to happen to you. Girls
sing scream crazy songs at you. You give various groups of people the opportunity to judge you after meeting you for five minutes. Some girls’ feelings are crushed and other girls start to think they’re better than you just because of the sorority that accepted them. But if you get lucky, you also get the chance to meet some of the people who will become your best friends for life. People who will become fiercely loyal, unbelievably caring, and ridiculously supportive of you… as long as you’re looking in the right places.
9. You no longer have to be friends with people out of obligation. High school doesn’t leave you much room to breathe. It’s like being trapped in a fishbowl, with only a small amount of people you can meet and spend time with. Many people get lucky and find wonderful friends in high school, but plenty of others don’t. Either way, once you’re in college, you can choose your friends. There’s a whole new world of people with unique interests, passions, and ways of thinking that you can get to know and form lasting relationships with. College gives you the opportunity to branch out, to find the friends you’ve always wanted to find, and to explore who you want to be both when you’re on your own and when you’re around others.
10. You can never have enough pairs of leggings. Possibly one of the greatest inventions of mankind, leggings allow you to go out in public basically wearing pajamas, but without looking like a slob. An oversized sweater worn with a scarf and a pair of leggings becomes an adorable ensemble. Leggings are the ultimate accessory for fat days, lazy days, cozy days, I-shrunk-my-jeans-in-the-dryer days, and basically every other day that exists.
11. It’s actually not that intimidating to speak up in class. In high school, it can feel scary to work hard and speak up and get good grades and to want to learn. But college is a whole different ball game. The fight for women to be treated the same as men is a fight that’s still going on, and will still be going on, for years to come. But it becomes a little easier in college to not apologize for your intelligence. Yes, it’s still difficult sometimes, but for the most part, the people that actually show up to class are the ones who want to learn, and the ones who don’t care if you’re male or female or black or white or gay or straight. They just want to leave the lesson feeling a little bit smarter than they were when they walked in.
12. You will never regret dressing comfortably. It’s fun to dress up. Everyone likes to feel beautiful and stylish and sophisticated. But you will never ever regret your decision to wear something you can breathe in, as opposed to squeezing yourself into that tight dress or those painted-on jeans. Insecurity never fully goes away, but the older you get, the more you’re concerned with doing what makes you feel the best, rather than what makes you look the best.
13. The days of Abercrombie and American Eagle are (thankfully) over. But the pressure to blend in never fully goes away. College definitely makes you feel more free in terms of branching out and doing what you want to do. You no longer feel pressured to wear the same Abercrombie jeans and labeled t-shirt every day, but that doesn’t mean you’ve fully escaped the strain that comes with fitting in. It may be different from high school, but you still occasionally feel like you have to do certain things to feel comfortable, and that pressure is always going to be there. But the best part about college, and the rest of your life, is that there’s a lot more room to try and fight it.
14. Wearing heels to the bar is never worth it. If you insist on wearing them to any kind of formal occasion, you will end up taking them off and walking around barefoot anyways. High heels look good when you stand in front of the mirror. They look good when you’re marching up and down your dorm hallway and showing them to your friends. But after about twenty minutes of standing in them, they have lost all magic and appeal and you will just end up zoning out at the bar, dreaming about sitting down and putting on your fuzzy socks.
15. No one is telling you what to do. So sometimes, you go a little nuts in the beginning. And then, you learn from these mistakes and get your shit a little bit more together every day. College is a series of ups and downs, of mistakes and successes, of learnings and failures. You’re your own compass now, and it takes some time to really figure out what the hell you’re doing.
16. Rain boots are a necessity of life. You hated them when you were six, but now you’re getting the chance to wear something that’s both stylish and practical. By the end of freshmen year, pretty much every girl has an awesome pair of boots that will keep her from hating life when she has to walk to class in the rain.