25 Things I Want To Know Before Starting College

This was written in response to 25 Things You Should Know Before Starting College. While it assuaged a few of my fears about hook-ups, washing the dishes and Ramen noodles, as a college-bound high school senior, I have a few questions of my own…

1. Will there be actual kitchens where I can cook things? Will I have a working oven I can use to bake cakes, or will my idealistic 1950s-housewife ways be beaten out of me by a lack of working technology?

2. Who do I ask if I don’t know how things work? Is there a manual provided or do I have to work it out myself?

3. How do you even do the laundry? What if I don’t understand the washing machine and accidentally flood the laundrette with soap suds?

4. Is it worth taking a toolbox in case things break? If so, does this mean I have to ask my dad for DIY lessons?

5. How much am I going to change as a person? What if I look back at myself at 18 in four years’ time and hate everything I stand for now? Can I deal with that?

6. Does the reputation you garner in your first day/week/term last forever? Or, if I turn up for Freshers’ Week with my hair dyed purple, will I forever be known as “That Cool/Emo/Hipster/Weird Girl With Purple Hair”, even if I change it a month later?

7. If university entails more work than the final year of school, how do people manage to go to classes AND go to societies AND do the extra reading AND have go out three times a week? I want to know the secret. Is it MDMA?

8. Will people offer me drugs? Will I get judged on whether I accept/reject them? What if I smoke weed one time and end up rocking back and forth in the foetal position, my brain consumed by paranoia (which is totally the sort of thing which would happen to goody-two-shoes like me who has never even been near an illegal substance before)? What then?

9. Is it bad that I kind of resent the fact people from school are going to the same university as me? I just wanted to get away and have a new start and boom, old acquintances everywhere. Is it rude if I just kind of… ignore them?

10. What do I do if my dorm room has damp?

11. If I join lots of extra-curricular activities, will my grades suffer?

12. If I join too many extra-curricular activities, can I quit some without people being weird and resenting me for it?

13. Will I get homesick? Will I miss my mum doing almost everything for me and gain a new-found appreciation of her as an everyday Superwoman? Will I miss my cats coming and meowing at me every time I try and do something productive? Will other people be homesick too?

14. Am I going to manage to stay in contact with my friends from back home, or will we just slowly and surely drift apart until I’m living inside that fucking Gotye song about somebody that I used to know? Is it worth the effort, or are my endeavours doomed from the get-go?

15. This is one specifically for the fellow Brits — is it still legal to watch television on BBC iPlayer and 4oD if I don’t have a TV license? How would you even enforce that? I just don’t want to be arrested for piracy, okay.

16. Is there a diplomatic way to tell people to be quieter while boning their significant others, or do I just have to suck it up/sound like a dick?

17. Am I going to be able to budget well enough to do things like buy not-tested-on-animals shampoo and retain my long-running vegetarianism, or will I just have to accept that student life involves diminshed ethics and greasy kebabs at 3am?

18. I imagine college is nothing like any of the movies or TV shows I’ve seen. Is there an exception to this, or are two seasons of Fresh Meat going to have to suffice?

19. Is there a blanket guide to dealing with professors, or do I have to suss it out on a case-by-case basis?

20. Will the older students be nice to me?

21. How many times am I allowed to screw up friendships/relationships/essays before people expect me to work out what I’m doing?

22. Does anyone really know what they’re doing?

23. What if I don’t make any friends?

24. What if I make the wrong friends?

25. What if I picked the wrong university? TC mark

image – merra m.

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