1. During college you’ll experience some of the best moments of your life, and the worst. So expect the ugliness as well as the loveliness. It’s completely natural, not to mention inevitable, that you experience both highs and lows during these formative years.
2. Once you’ve settled in, you’ll miss home like crazy. I can’t express how much I wish I’d known this. When you first get to college there will be so many clubs to join, parties to attend, and dorms to decorate that you won’t even know how you’ll have time to sleep. Hell, you probably won’t. And even though that initial marvel at this new life never really fades, you get used to it. That’s when you’ll have to do your first set of laundry, when your room will get messy, when you’ll wish you had your family around. You’ll feel lonely despite all those people around you. And guess what? That’s okay. Allow yourself to feel sad. It’ll pass. Eventually.
3. The secret to getting through college is to keep yourself insanely busy. Do your homework, study your face off, join a bunch of clubs, read books, binge watch Netflix, and keep partying. Do as much as humanly possible at all times. It’s exhausting to be so busy, but now’s the time. You’re young, and you won’t always have the luxury of being so free to pursue all sorts of different activities. It will seem like a lot of pressure at times, but you can handle it (hopefully).
4. You’ll get sick eventually, and it will suck not to have your parents around to take care of you. Google will help convince you that you’ve got some super rare, weird disease. And without your loving parents to care for you during this time, you will lay in your dorm, feeling terrible, wishing you were home, wondering if that weird disease might just kill you. There’s nothing worse than being ill without a live-in mom or dad nurse to make you tea and tuck you in. Friends are great, but college is competitive and no one will want to risk contracting whatever you have so don’t expect your new pals to get too close while your snotty and coughing.
5. You won’t meet your best college friends in the first week, month, or even first semester. But if you find people you get along with early on, that’s an accomplishment in and of itself. There’s plenty of time to find the people you’ll really connect with—the ones who end up in your wedding party one day. In college, quality is way more important than quantity in forming relationships. But quality friendships take time to forge, so don’t expect them to just happen automatically.
6. You can’t expect guys to have condoms on them. The condoms they passed out for free when you first got to college? Keep those. Even if you’re not the drunken hook-up type. Even if guys are supposed to carry them around at all times. Even if you don’t have a boyfriend and don’t even like casual sex. Even if you’re a virgin and don’t want that to change anytime soon. Keep the condoms because when you need them most, you’ll be happy you have them.
7. You can’t count on anyone but yourself when you’re piss-drunk. If the party is far from over and you’re already feeling dinner making a comeback, chances are your new “friends” will either: 1) take care of you but secretly hate you a little for making them leave the party early, or 2) hand you a cup of water (which still tastes of the beer they just poured out of it) and reassure you that you’ll be fine. No one likes the wasted person who can’t take care of herself. Trust me. You’re an adult now, and it’s your responsibility to know your limits when it comes to alcohol consumption.
8. You’ll crave privacy, especially during shower (and other bathroom) times. This one is self explanatory. In college, the only way to get the kind of privacy you’re used to from back home is to shower super early in the morning, before everyone else wakes up, or to shower late at night. And in terms of going “number two,” you can either hold it until there’s no one around, or deal with the embarrassment of stinking the place up.
9. There’s a major downside to sharing clothes. That H&M top you lent to that girl from down the hall? The one that everyone was complimenting you on at the last big party? Chances are you might never see it again. And if you do, chances are it will have Ramen noodle stains on it from a late night study session. But you’re a jerk if you don’t lend someone something when she asks to borrow it. The collective closet thing has its perks, but it also leads to some disappointment.
10. You have to work hard not to hold grudges. When you’re in a crowd of young men and women all trying to establish their footing in this new wilderness of university life, it’s better not to be overly anal. Everyone’s constantly stressed out and trying to figure things out, and everyone will benefit if you can be your most easygoing self. Ultimately, you’ll be thankful that you didn’t waste too much time or energy sweating the little things.