Three Things No One Tells You About College
Alright incoming freshman, it's college time. And I know what you're thinking -- you're ready. Your scholastic aptitude is only outmatched by your alcohol tolerance, you understand that sleep is going to alternate between either a disgustingly abundant or insultingly scarce resource in the coming year and you are fully prepared to disregard everything doctors have ever said to anyone about alcohol.
Good, you're ready to be a wildcat.
But there's a bunch of stuff that you guys aren't ready for. Because it's all the shit that's hard about college that nobody really tells you about. I fully understand that you've received a thousand lectures on classes, motivation, partying, extra curricular, and training your stealth abilities to sneak out of a sorority house at four in the morning. But here's the stuff that's going to happen in college that no one will prepare you for. I understand that this article's concept is about as creative as the third participant in a gang-bang, but please, let me tell you about some terrible parts of college.
Here are three periods of your first year at college that no one (probably) has told you about
Your friends' hearts will be destroyed by faceless harpies from across the country:
Long distance relationships are hard. This is an obvious fact -- I regurgitate it to you only to put my next point into context. At this moment you are either in a long distance relationship or you aren't. If you aren't, you're thinking: “going into college with a long distance relationship is a bad idea, there's no way that can end well.” If you are in a long distance relationship you're thinking: “That logic applies to other people, my love is rock solid, all my lonely peers can suck it.” You're both wrong.
Long distance relationships can work. But it's a fringe possibility. Like ten percent, maybe. Long distance relationships are these weird situations where everyone thinks they have a really good hand, and only when the game is over do they realize that they were going all-in on a pair-of-twos. And you can win a hand of poker with a pair-of-twos, it's just not very likely. So even assuming you're the bitching rock star that can keep someone committed from hundreds or thousands of miles away, almost everyone else you know isn't going to be able to. This means that throughout your first year of college, almost anyone who you care about who is in a relationship will get their heart broken. And you, the guy they just met like, 3 months ago, will have to be one of the primary agents in making sure that they don't go try to machete-duel the California surfer bro their former love begins dating.
What will make this issue especially difficult is that it will probably happen to many of your friends at the same time. After winter break or after spring break. Many of your friends hearts will break this first year, and -- God help you -- they will probably break in unison.
So get pumped for school - even if you've taken steps to avoid being mired in bullshit, you can still expect to get mired in someone else's.
You will take a course that reams you like a scene from “Deliverance”
Okay. Congratulations on getting into Northwestern. You must have done pretty well in school, or have a wealthy Dad. In either case, you're here now, and you're going to face the disconcerting truth that something that has traditionally been a pretty easy component of your life (school) is now going to become a major pain in your ass. Not every class will be hard, in fact, many of them will be easy. But there will be one that just refuses to give you any sense of satisfaction or accomplishment. Maybe you'll have a dicky TA, maybe the workload will be impossible, maybe the material will be so esoteric and obscure that to understand it is to invite madness. In any case, you're just going to get used to the fact that for one quarter, you will set aside at least a couple hours every week to be reminded that you aren't as smart as you like to think you are. You will pay thousands of dollars for the privilege to do this, and it will piss you off.
Are you guys excited yet?!
The period where all the freshman think college is a cliché
An incoming freshman has had his perception of college molded for him his entire life. There's a string of movies, books, articles, and second hand stories that culminate to create this impression of college that is often almost completely off-base. Sex is probably less common than you're expecting, drinking- while prevalent - will probably not infiltrate your life as much as you think it will, and wacky hijinks are still limited by the scope of law and reason. However, for the first few weeks, freshman classes tend to exist in a sort of bubble, where there is so much shared belief in the college cliché that it almost becomes true. It's like the Polar Express, but instead of belief in the Santa Clause and the wonder of life, it's whiskey and irresponsible bodily contact. In any case this bubble pops as soon as people who are not college freshman return to campus and restore a healthy sense of shame to the incoming class. So try not to sully yourself too much before then.