It is important to know when starting college, or looking for a college to go to, that there are some things that TV shows and movies got wrong. By now you may have noticed some of these things. Here are ten common college myths.
- Everyone is involved in Greek Life in college. Sure, at some schools being a Greek is a big deal and a way of life, it may even be a tradition for a student’s family. But not every single person joins a fraternity or sorority. Not all fraternity brothers are obsessed with toga parties (Animal House), and not all sorority sisters are mean or out to get you (Sorority Wars).
2. Everyone has a perfectly decorated room. When I think about this, Elle Woods from Legally Blonde automatically comes to mind. Her room was beautiful! But I think you’ll find most people don’t go to her lengths to decorate their room. Also, you will not get away with having a treadmill and your best doggie pal in your room like she did. You just won’t.
3. People are always taking off to tropical locales over spring break. I think you’ll find that most people just go home and veg out on their parent’s couch. I did this for the vast majority of my spring breaks in college. My senior year my friend’s and I went to a relative’s beach house in Jersey, though. It snowed our second day there.
4. There is a wild party every night of the week and everyone goes. While parties are a given in college, you won’t find some huge rager every night, nor will people be inclined to go out every night. People do actually stay in and study, or hang out with their friends sober. And there is nothing wrong with that.
5. Everyone is a mature adult. When I was in high school I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait to go to college so I wouldn’t have to deal with my classmate’s immature attitudes. This wasn’t the case though. It takes time for people to grow up. It will take time for YOU to grow up too. You may not be as mature as you think you are.
6. Everyone is dressed to the nines and looking fine every day. Elle Woods, setting unrealistic expectations again! You will not be dressed to impress every single day. Sure there will be those students in your 8am that are well dressed and made up but don’t feel pressure to match them. Most people wear T-shirts, jeans, hoodies, or sweatpants to class. Prime example, I wore basketball shorts almost every day my first semester of college, and you better believe if I had an 8am there wasn’t a stitch of makeup on my face! Some classes are fifty minutes, some are three hours. Dress comfortably and be ready to learn.
7. You must graduate in four years! While this does happen, it is not unheard of to go an extra semester or two (sometimes more). If you need that extra time don’t be afraid to take it. It took me five years to graduate, and that’s okay.
8. You have to have your major set in stone from semester one. When you’re eighteen you may not know what you want to do for the rest of your life. Which means you may switch your major several times before graduation. You have some wiggle room to figure it out. Most schools actually want you to have your major picked by the end of your sophomore year. So come into school undeclared/exploratory studies if you’re unsure what you want to do.
9. Professors are unapproachable, stuffy, mean, unhelpful, etc. Did you ever hear your high school teachers tell you, “Your professors in college won’t care about you as much as we do.” Well, that is just not true. Your professors care just as much as your high school teachers about you and your education. Make it a point to personally introduce yourself in larger classes, go to their office hours to talk or get help, and email them when something comes up and keeps you out of class. If you build a good working relationship with them you will have someone who is a mentor, a friend, and will write a job/graduate school recommendation for you.
10. This one is twofold. One: Freshmen don’t get A’s. Two: The grades you get in your general education classes, or gen. eds., don’t matter as much as the grades you get in your major-related classes. Wrong and wrong! Yes, there is an adjustment that all college freshmen must go through. Your study habits from high school may not work in college. The pacing and difficulty level of the courses will be different. But that doesn’t mean you can’t earn that A! Now to the second part of this myth. ALL OF YOUR CLASSES MATTER. Whether the class you are taking is a gen. ed. or major-related it will count towards your GPA. You want and need to do well in your gen. eds. The gen. eds. also serve to diversify your knowledge base, and make you a well-rounded and well-educated individual.
All photos courtesy of Canva.
Kristi Shorter is an Intern for Millersville University’s Housing and Residential Programs. She is currently pursuing her Master of Education in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.