Earlier this week, I wrote about the 12 Things You Will Experience During College. However, what I failed to mention was the seedy underbelly of the college experience — the terrible moments that accompany otherwise great times.
You can’t always have our cake and eat it, too.
There will be days when you are so tired that you can barely drag your sorry body out of bed to go to class or when you feel hopelessly homesick — missing the friends and family and love interests you left at home along with other mementos of adolescence passed. There will be mornings when you run into every single ex you’ve ever had and somehow manage to spill burning hot coffee down the front of your new shirt. There will be times when your professor hands back a paper you slaved over with a less-than-exceptional grade to acknowledge your efforts. There will be weeks when you are sick and all you want to do is curl up in bed with a bowl of lentil soup and an endless stream of Sex and the City, but you have so much homework that even thinking about doing so is a luxury.
The point is: college — like anything else in life — sucks sometimes. Brace yourself and prepare with a list of the 10 worst experiences you will face during college:
1. Sleep Deprivation
Our bodies were not biologically engineered to run too little sleep each night, but during college, you will push your physical health as far as it will go in this regard. Studying for midterms or completing assignments will sometimes require that you spend an ungodly number of hours in the library (but if you can make it through college without having pulled at least one school-related all-nighter, props) — leaving just as the sun comes up and only because you have to make it to your morning class.
2. New Social Anxieties
As we get older, it becomes more difficult to make friends (anyone remember how, during pre-school, it was perfectly socially acceptable to become best friends with someone after only playing in the sandbox with them for five minutes?). During college, you meet people at every moment — friends of friends of friends who know of you before they actually know you — and learning what is and isn’t socially acceptable in any given context becomes infinitely more stressful (and often, awkward) than it ever has.
3. Going Broke
It’s easy to lose track of your money during college. At first, I thought that my specific online shopping addiction (curse you, Nasty Gal) made it difficult to reign in my bank account, but after talking to friends and classmates, I realized that going broke is a fairly universal collegiate experience. There are so many reasons to drop cash — for cabs when going out, at dinners with your friends, or even when you need to pick up a prescription at CVS — that those of us who are less fiscally responsible might find ourselves in trouble.
4. Freshman (And Beyond) 15
The idea that you only gain weight during your freshman year is a sad myth. Yes, the freshman 15 exists but so does the sophomore, junior, and senior 15s. From study snacks (sometimes, shoveling handfuls of Goldfish into your mouth keeps you alert more than the blackest coffee while you’re studying Calculus) to all the pizzas you order after night outs to superfluous amounts of beer, it’s too easy to pack on the pounds.
5. Dealing With Icky People
This is a broad category of people that ranges from uber-competitive classmates who refuse to help anyone that could damage the class curve to exes who have their friends dump water on you when they see you out with a dude (okay, okay, I know this is situational, but I’m a little bitter about this one) to those who are just mean or rude for no reason. College can bring out the best in people, but it can also sometimes bring out the worst — when our parents throw us out into the world during these four years, we are the only ones who can buffer our own negative qualities.
6. Hermiones In Every Class
There will be that one kid in every single class you take during college who sits at the front of the room and raises his or her hand every five minutes — either to humble-brag about the supplementary reading they did on the Friday night they spent cloistered in the library or to point out a mistake the professor made. They will think that they’ve mastered the art of brown-nosing, but let’s hope that your professor will be able to see right through them.
7. Salty Professors
In a similar vein, for every McGonagall who teaches you, there will be a Snape who makes his or her class an unnecessarily and unbearably wretched experience. Choosing your professors is just as — if not more — crucial than choosing your courses. An exceptional professor can and will nurture you in his field while a terrible professor will make you never want to pick up an another book in his or her subject.
8. Internship/Job Woes
Remember when you were younger, and summers were actually a time for relaxation between the crunch of each school year — resplendent with pool parties and cookouts? Well, that ends, for the most part, during college. With your imminent future constantly on your mind, summer becomes less of a party and more of a time for internships and jobs so that, at the end of your four years, you have some options. You will realize that you can’t afford to sit on your butt all summer, watching Netflix during every waking moment, when your classmates are running around in business suits — juggling copies of The Financial Times and cups of coffee. Just being realistic here.
9. Expensive Textbooks
I went to my college bookstore at the beginning of this semester to purchase the texts and materials I needed for all of my classes. Keep in mind: I’m only taking four academic classes, but when the cashier handed me the receipt, I felt a sudden urge to cry. I had just made a several-hundred-dollar dent in my bank account. I’m not sure how any textbook could possibly cost a couple hundred dollars (unless the pages are embossed with gold flecks) but they can and do.
10. Work On Work On Work
During college, you will rethink everything you thought you knew about being busy. A friend told me this week that he doesn’t read books when he’s at school because “if [he] were to do anything intellectual, it would be studying for his classes” — this, though sad, sums it up to a great extent. Even when you finally have a (rare) moment of free time, there’s always more work you could be doing for classes — homework assignments, extra practice problems, errands for your job or extracurricular activities, etc. Be prepared for to-do lists with dozens of items you will never complete.