Bust common first-year college myths
August 5, 2020
From the moment most high school graduates walk the stage at commencement, they can’t wait to go to college. Most incoming freshmen have some sort of idea as to what college life looks like, whether flooded with parties every night or building lifelong connections with roommates. However, there are often misconceptions due to popular culture and common myths surrounding campus life.
So you’ve graduated high school and moved on to the next step. First of all, congratulations, you did it! And secondly, as a way of passing the baton from one former freshman to a new one, here are some myths on what to expect and what not to expect during your first year.
- You will gain the “freshman 15”
Although it is arguably the most commonly dreaded freshman myth, the legend of the freshman 15 does not quite hold up. According to a study conducted at Cornell University, first-year students gained 4.2 pounds on average in the first 12 weeks of instruction.
While it is certainly possible to gain weight once you move away from home, the typical amount gained is often exaggerated. In addition, weight gain is certainly not inevitable. Yet it is important to note there is nothing wrong with gaining some weight during your first year. It is understandable why your body may change when you are trying to adjust to a new environment.
But if you are set on staying in tip-top shape, there are some excellent campus resources to aid you in doing so. For example, you can check out some of the recreational facilities on campus, such as the ARC or CRCE gym. Once you start to maintain accountability for your health habits, you will feel better overall and are less likely to gain a few extra pounds.
- You have to join Greek life to maintain a social life
Although the University has quite the reputation for being a party school, the Greek life scene isn’t for everyone. You don’t have to be involved in Greek life to make friends with those in fraternities and sororities, and you certainly don’t need to be involved with Greek life to go to parties.
With such a large number of fraternities and sororities on campus, it can be difficult not to feel pressured to join by fear of missing out. However, there are so many other ways to get to know people your first year. There is undoubtedly no shortage of extracurriculars on campus which is something that becomes apparent to most freshmen on Quad Day.
Sign up for a lot of clubs, try some out, and find an extracurricular or a few you want to really stick to. You will more likely build connections by investing yourself in a few clubs rather than being loosely involved in a lot.
- You’ll be best friends with your roommate
Whether or not you chose your roommate going into freshman year housing, the connection may just not be there; and that’s OK. Often in popular culture surrounding campus life, roommates are portrayed to be best friends who create life-lasting bonds. While this may be true for some, it definitely is not the case for all.
It is important as people who share the same space to retain respect in your shared environment. Even if you aren’t best friends, it doesn’t mean you have to be enemies. Communicate rules if you need to. Not everyone is okay with hearing music blasting at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday night.
The truth is, you will probably become some level of close with your roommate, which can be beneficial as you both learn to navigate your first year together. Try to build a bond with them. They are experiencing the same things you are. But don’t stress if the connection is not there. You will have countless opportunities to build friendships in your classes, extracurriculars and campus events.
- You’ll adjust right away
For most incoming students, going to college will mean gaining the most independence they’ve ever had. However, with all of the positive shifts happening in your life comes difficult change as well. Speaking from experience as a freshman last year, leaving home and adapting to an entirely new place takes time, and that is OK.
Having been grown and raised in a small town, I was admittedly excited to leave and start a new life somewhere else. I ended up putting a lot of pressure on myself to fall in love with my new college life instantly. After all, it was what I was waiting for since I can remember.
When this adjustment does not happen immediately, it can become a stressful situation. It is important to understand that everyone has different ways of adapting to their new environment, and it takes everyone a different amount of time. Take me, for example, who didn’t totally adjust until the second semester of freshman year. Maintain a connection with your family and friends back at home. They can really help you through the process as it is difficult to endure it alone.
And even though it may not seem like it at first, you will find your place here, and trust me, once you do, you are going to love it.