Growing up, we all heard things about what college would be like, what it would contain. We took these things as fact, simply because we had no life experience to tell us otherwise, and the people talking to us were ones we admired.
Yet, as I’ve progressed through my almost three years of college, I’ve realized that however well-intentioned or based on lack of information, some of the things we were told were simply lies.
HERE ARE SEVEN LIES WE WERE TOLD ABOUT COLLEGE:
“IT’LL BE THE BEST YEARS OF YOUR LIFE.”
If you live life thinking that your years in college will be the best years of your life, something is insanely wrong with you. I had amazing years before I lived on campus; I traveled, I learned, I grew, I did work I loved. Once I graduate, it’s going to be the same way-why would we act like the frazzled, penny-pinching, homework and social life juggling years of college are our best? Take the memories made just as they are, and look forward to excellent years after school.
“PLAN FOR AT LEAST TWO HOURS OF OUTSIDE STUDY FOR EVERY HOUR OF CLASS TIME.”
This is more frequently given to me by a professor than by a parent or mentor, and although well-intentioned, is wrong. No class is going to have homework or challenges that are exactly alike. I’ve had intense classes where I’ve grasped the material very easily with little need to review outside of class, and subjectively easy classes that I have failed to grasp and have needed to study constantly.
Don’t block off the same amount of time per class, and don’t assume you’ll need the same time in each class. Give yourself adequate time to study, review concepts you don’t understand, and keep up with homework and assignments, and kiss this ‘two-to-one’ rule goodbye.
“YOU HAVE TO GO TO COLLEGE TO HAVE A WELL-PAYING JOB.”
It’s this lie that has fed the massive Game of Loans going on in our country right now. Why does a good paying job require a college degree? Determine where your skills lie and where you’re called to work, and then get the training that requires. We need electricians, farriers, plumbers, and web designers just the same as we need engineers, teachers, and social workers.
Trade school, certification, or experience are all important in giving you what you need to do your job; let’s quit pretending college is a one-size-fits-all option. Some people should NOT go to college (or at least, a four year school), and that’s perfectly fine.
“YOU’RE GOING TO BE BROKE.”
This says less about the cost of school and more about the student’s money management. Look-being broke is a choice. If you want to save and manage your money well, you will do so. Attending college doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to be without money; it just means that you need to plan and manage it well.
“FOCUS ON SCHOOL-THERE’S NO NEED TO STRESS YOURSELF WITH A PART TIME JOB.”
I currently have a full load of credits, am part of several groups on and off campus…AND work three part time jobs. Working part time during college helps with my last point about money management, helps you stay out of debt, and also helps give you some responsibility. Plus, I’ve found that you’re a lot less stressed when you know you’ll be able to pay your bills, even if it means you have to schedule specific times to hit the books.
“YOU’RE GOING TO BE INSANELY STRESSED DURING MIDTERMS AND FINALS.”
This has always seemed so silly to me. Why should you automatically assume you’ll be stressed? Why do we treat midterms and finals’ stress like some rite of passage? If you’re keeping yourself scheduled well, planning for adequate amounts of study time, and actually getting sleep, you’ll keep the stress at bay.
“DON’T WORRY IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING — YOU CAN FIGURE IT OUT!”
Although a nice sentiment, finding yourself is NOT what college is about. It may happen in the process, but why should you spend thousands upon thousands of dollars chasing something you may or may not want to do? If you don’t have a plan for what you want your college career to be and what you think you might want to do with it, delay school.
Work for a while, learn about your field of choice, and make an informed decision before spending money you don’t need to spend. Plus, even if your idea of what exactly you’d like to do within your field changes, you won’t be entirely changing majors later on-you’ll simply be tweaking your end game with the degree slightly. Walk through the doors of your school with a plan, and you’ll be much more motivated in the long run.