Your first year in college is bound to be a bit stressful, especially if this is your first time living far from home.
However, do not allow common misconceptions about campus life worry you.
Instead, discover the truth behind each myth:
Myth #1: Everyone Succeeds in College
While it is certainly possible to excel in higher education, doing so requires dedication, focus, and simple hard work. Many students mistakenly believe that certain courses are a guaranteed A.
Even enrolling in a professor’s “easy” class does not ensure you a good grade—or that you will truly learn the material. Be wary of everything you hear about a particular instructor’s grading style.
Myth #2: Everyone Knows What They are Doing
At times, it may seem as though the entire campus is more capable than you; this is a façade. Many students struggle with academics, extracurricular involvement, and the social aspects of school (e.g. the dreaded roommate).
No single student knows everything about your college and the higher education system, and you are certainly not expected to have a wealth of knowledge in your first year.
Myth #3: You Can Only Enroll in Classes Within Your Major
Often, freshmen have little or no idea about what they hope to do in the future. Thus, it is important to choose classes that interest you, especially during your first few semesters. Opt for a subject that excites you, or select a course with a beloved professor.
Our society seeks well-rounded students, and taking a broad range of classes may allow you to discover a field you greatly enjoy. It’s common for students to change their minds about their majors later on in their education; starting this exploration early can help you decide on what path to take.
Myth #4: These are the Best Years of Your Life
College can be a stressful time for even the most prepared of students. You will feel alone, elated, homesick, overwhelmed, and every emotion in-between! Remember that there are numerous support systems on campuses, from counseling services to religious groups to organizations that connect students with shared interests.
If you are feeling stressed, reach out to professors or other sources of support. You will be surprised at how accommodating many departments and individuals can be.
Ultimately, everyone has a unique higher education experience. It is unlikely that you will encounter a student who is taking the same exact same classes as you, let alone following a specific path to success.
Focus on the important things, like meeting new people and trying new academic interests, and everything else will fall into place.
Andrea Deck is a professional GRE tutor and contributing writer for Varsity Tutors. She is a graduate student at Columbia University in the class of 2015.