When you head off to college, you might find that adulting is both incredibly liberating and at the same time, absolutely terrifying. If you’re living in a dorm, moving away from your home and into a season of independence means you’ll start doing lots of adult things: shopping for your own groceries, doing your own laundry, and making sure you do a few responsible things here and there—like getting to bed at a reasonable hour.
It can be easy to look at college with rose-colored glasses and think that it’s all parties, staying up late, and having a good time; however, it’s true that college is also a place where you will more than likely truly grow up. We’ve put together a list of some realities that are good to know about on the front end as you approach your college days. This list isn’t meant to scare you! It’s just helpful to spend a bit of time thinking about these things; however, take care not to wallow in anxiety or stress over these realities. You will find your way, and the Lord will be present with you!
1. College can be expensive
You’re probably already well aware of just how expensive college is if you’ve spent any time looking around at schools or submitting applications. Loans can be a really difficult thing to wade through once you graduate, but thankfully, there’s a lot of great financial aid out there for college students. Don’t let sticker shock keep you from heading to a college or university—while the price may be high, it’s is generally well worth it in the end.
Paying for your schooling isn’t the only thing that can be expensive. Depending on your financial setup, you might be in charge of purchasing groceries, school supplies, textbooks, or other needs, like clothes, gas, and dorm room supplies. Getting a part-time job—either on campus or off campus—can be a huge help in offsetting expenses, and at the very least, it will give you some good experience along with a little extra pocket change.
2. You might not get your dream job immediately
Some of the best things in life take a lot of effort. A lie that current generations often hear is that it’s expected that you land your dream career either right out of college or shortly thereafter. However, the reality is that these things often take time, and you might not end up in a job you really, really love right out of college.
The thing is, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever get to your dream career. It might involve going back to school for a Master’s degree, or you might have to work a few odd jobs while freelancing on the side before you land a stellar position, but that’s really okay. This doesn’t mean that you absolutely won’t land your dream career right out college, but if you’re not one of the few who do, consider the fact that you’re slowly but surely building your resume and experience by working other positions. You will get there—through hard work and determination, you might be surprised where you end up when the time is right!
3. Relationships might look a bit different than you expected
Many college students assume that they’ll meet their significant other, along with all of their best friends, when they head to college. While this very well might be true, no one can predict the future, and it can be a bit of a reality check when friendships or other relationships don’t come as easily as you thought they might.
Keep in mind that relationships often take a long time to grow. Trust may take years to cultivate, and it takes a while to figure out your niche and the type of people you want to spend your time with. It also might involve you needing to reach out to someone else. Sometimes, we want friends to just come to us and arrive on our doorstep, but it takes the effort of both parties for true friendships to forge.
If you find yourself flying solo on a weekend with nothing to do, have a bit of grace for yourself, summon the courage, and go out there and ask someone if they want to hang out.