For many young people, entering college can be scary, daunting, and a little uncertain. As students nationwide prepare for college, they receive loads of advice, both harmful and helpful. One thing most people don’t understand is that every person’s college experience is different and unique. You shouldn’t assume that just because someone tells you that college is going to be a certain way means that it is that way. Oftentimes advice that seems helpful becomes irreverent when you actually get to college because your college is not the same college as the person’s who gave you the advice. So, I thought I’d put together a post dedicated to the harmful college advice you should avoid! There are some things that you’ll hear, and you’ll wonder if it’s true, and some of it because it’s more universal advice. Some things you’ll be told are false, either meant to scare or intimidate.
Harmful college advice:
1) College is way more relaxed; you don’t have to do the reading. #false. A lot of people at really large colleges claim that reading for class is more optional than not. This is SERIOUSLY FALSE at my college because the average class size is twenty people. Many people think that they won’t have to read because they don’t have parents at school to tell them to do their homework, and they think they can just blend in with the classroom’s back wall, becoming essentially invisible for about an hour. Read! Impress your professors, learn from you peers and learn from various authors, and finally, put your tuition to good use!
2) Go to parties as much as possible, you want to have a good time. While it is important to have an enjoyable, fun college experience, partying a ton can be really damaging. You’re paying a lot of money for your education once you get to college, and you don’t want to throw away dollars as you spend time recovering from a hangover rather than studying for your next exam.
3) Plan to have all your classes on three or two days a week (MWF, TTH). This may not seem harmful; in fact, it may seem ideal because you’ll be in class less during the week. However, having all your classes on only a few days a week also means that exams will often fall on the same days, you maybe have three to four papers due in one week, and you’ll be sitting in the classroom for hours on the days you do have class. I caution against planning your schedule this way unless you’re working, and this is the absolute best and nearly the only option.
4) Have a solid four-year plan upon entering school. Sometimes we should have a plan, and sometimes we should not. It’s great to have general goals, like medical school or law school, but you don’t need to get bogged down by the details until well into your college career. You want to make sure you’re making the most of your college experience, and you want to ensure that you’re enjoying yourself, you’re making connections, and you’re learning from those around you! Plan goals, don’t plan details…at least not yet.
These are just four areas of advice that I felt ended up being a little harmful during my first two years in college. You may feel differently, and you can test the waters and see what works for you, but try to keep these in mind!