What They Don’t Tell You About College

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You hear lots of things about college.

 

Opportunities. Independence. Exploration. Education.

Parties. Activities. Classes. Clubs. Majors.

 

They tell you about the highlights.

They tell you the parts that are advertise-able.

They tell you the parts they want you to see.

Not the whole story.

There are some things they don’t tell you about college, but that doesn’t make those parts any less real.

 

What they don’t tell you about college is that between the ‘opportunities’ and ‘things to do’, there’s uncertainty. Lots of it.

You won’t be sure what you want to do, where you want to go, or who you want to be.

 

They don’t tell you is that when you get to college, where you can ‘be whoever you want’, you might realize that you have no idea who that is.

 

They don’t tell you that you’ll question everything, and the answers might surprise you.

 

They don’t tell you that college is lonely.

Somehow, a campus with tens of thousands of people creates a loneliness that can make you feel invisible and insignificant.

 

What they don’t tell you is that in high school, all you wanted was to be on your own, to support yourself, and not rely on anyone else.

But in college, you’re on your own whether you like it or not, and it’s not easy.

 

What they don’t tell you is that you won’t be friends with those people you promised to keep in touch with from high school.

They also won’t tell you that you’ll be much better off without those people, and there are much better friendships to be found.

 

What they don’t tell you is that you have to fight for and stand up for yourself.

If you don’t, you’ll be overtaken by everything college lets you be.

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

 

They won’t tell you that partying and drinking won’t fulfill you, and it won’t bring you the same joy in the morning that it did last night.

 

They won’t tell you that you will be sad. You will be lonely. You will be unsure of yourself.

There will be times that are tough to get through, and days that seem impossible.

But you will find a way to keep fighting, and you’ll find people to help you get through it all.

You might have some of your worst times, but you’ll also have some of your best.

 

What they don’t tell you is that with every choice you make, from what to eat or whether skip class, you’re choosing who you are and who you’ll become.

You’re choosing whether you’re a doer or a don’t-er (okay, you get the idea…).

You’re choosing whether to jump in and play the game of life, or to let it play you.

 

What they don’t tell you is that while in this phase between childhood and adulthood, you’ll grow up.

You won’t know the moment you stop feeling like a kid.

 

What they don’t tell you about college is that it’ll challenge you, in ways you didn’t even think possible.

You’ll change your mind on things that make you ‘you’, or you might hold fast to all the things you stand for.

With challenge comes growth, and you’ll grow more than you ever have.

 

They won’t tell you all the things you’ll learn about yourself.

You’ll learn how much sleep your body needs, what you look for in a friend, and that sometimes all you need is a bowl of ice cream and a good laugh to cheer you up.

You’ll learn that the world is an insane, incredible place.

And may not know your place in it yet, but you will.

 

They won’t tell you any of these things. Most of them aren’t pretty, or easy to explain.

The college experience can’t be listed on a website or shown on a tour, because there is so much more to it than that.

 

What they don’t tell you about college is that it’s crazy, overwhelming, unpredictable, and difficult.

But it’s amazing.

It’ll make you both scared and excited for the future.

But it’ll also make you thankful for the past.

 

What they don’t tell you is that with every dining hall meal, class registration, and night spent out with friends, you’re making memories, and a life.

Your life.

What they don’t tell you is that you’ll walk out a different person than the one that walked in.

You might be uncertain of who exactly that person will be, but you’ve got four years to figure it out.

 

They don’t tell you all these things.

They won’t.

They can’t.

Some things you just have to find out for yourself.

 

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25 comments
  1. AMEN. From someone who is three weeks away from graduation…. amen to all of this. Love the heartfelt way you shared your experience that’s true for so many, girl!

    1. Ahh good luck to you in these last few weeks, that’s so exciting!!! I’m a first year student but graduating early and I’ve had a lot on my mind recently and wanted to share, so I’m so glad you enjoyed and related!!

  2. Kristen, it’s interesting to see that you are already discovering these member years ago telling someone that the friends they had in High School may not even be a part of there lives later on. They couldn’t believe it.
    You will find that true also for a number of friends that you make in College, unless you find your husband there.
    Enjoy the experience and learn from them, just don’t let them change your core,values,,these are the things that will ultimately mold your life. Learn from your experiences and store away the good memories and discard those of insignificance.
    Love Grandpa

    1. I must’ve inherited some wisdom for you! I think you could start your own blog with all the wonderful lessons you’ve learned 🙂 This is such great advice, I especially love the part about discarding the insignificant bits! Always enjoy your comments, Love you!

  3. I couldn’t agree more! I’ve had a lot of breakdowns I didn’t expect to get while in college. I was told the same things, but not necessarily the ACTUAL things. Great post!

    1. Same here! In just a year of college I’ve gone through a lot more than I expected. Thanks for reading! 🙂

      1. Me too! I’m in need of constant encouragement, so I can only imagine what your needs are! Feel free to contact me!

        1. I’ve always been extremely independent, but I’ve found that in college I rely more on others for fellowship and encouragement, which I think is a good thing! Will do, just checked out your blog and I love it already! 🙂

          1. You’re so sweet, thanks for checking it out!

  4. So true so true. I just wrote about when you feel lonely as a college student finding your place on your campus community. They don’t tell you that in high school for sure! But God is there and He is always near, we just have to reach out to him :). Nice to visit you today!

  5. I know right? The part about being whoever you want but not knowing who that is

  6. This is all true. They probably told you but you just didn’t understand. Life is like that.

    On FB as Andrēē e writes

  7. Kristen, these are so true. Not just for college! As I’ve been living on my own, I’ve found that these things get even more real when you’re on your own. As someone who is living in my own place, coming home can be lonely. It can be confusing figuring out who you are apart from parents, and apart from other organizations. It’s overwhelming. Life is much harder and more real than I ever anticipated, but with God, so much better! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes I’m sure it only gets lonelier and many more lessons are learned in living on your own! It’s such a strange transition. I agree, it’s all easier when you rely on Him to help you through it all!! Blessings 🙂

      1. I really enjoy your blog! Thanks for writing… even in the craziness of college!

        1. Thanks so much!! The blog has been such an amazing outlet among all the craziness, so I’m glad you like it 🙂

  8. You are so on point with this post. I have felt all these emotions and struggles at college. Especially the uncertainty and loneliness. I really didn’t expect to feel like I was all by myself when I was surrounded by people. It’s a strange thing!
    It’s such a crazy time of life but so worth it in the end .

    1. I totally agree! Lots of lessons to learn, but all so worth it!!

  9. This is seriously one of the truest, most relatable things I have ever read. Also, super beautiful writing!

    1. Aw, thank you so much!!! I really appreciate that 🙂 I’m so glad you liked it and related!

  10. Went through this going “Yep, uh-huh, very true…” I also just finished up first year of university, and it’s been a real roller coaster ride. Great post!

    1. Glad you get it girl 🙌🏻 thank you!!

  11. Hey Kristen, college does not make you lonely. I think you just started your sophomore year and college is one of the best things that happened to me in my life. But it may not happen necessarily with every undergraduate. College is indeed much more than just a three year or a four year degree and education. Be open to knowing new kinds of people. Don’t stick to a certain group because at college we tend to have more mature and distant relationships with classmates and teachers. I advise you to adapt to enjoying your own company, and nobody can make you feel alone. 🙂 All love.

    1. Hi there, in my opinion, I do think more people are lonely in college because you are on their own for the first time. I just mean that in my first year, I spent a lot more time alone. I do enjoy my own company, I just think there is such thing as too much alone time, and it’s important to be around people. I loved my first year, and I know college will be one of my favorite seasons of life. I don’t think college is just a degree and I was open to new people this year. I don’t know if you misunderstood what I was trying to say with this post, but I honestly love college and had an amazing first year, there are just certain downsides of college that people don’t talk about as much as all the amazing parts, and that’s all I was trying to say. Your comment makes it seem like I really don’t like college or something, and that’s definitely not true. Thanks for reading

      1. If that is so, then that’s really amazing. I might have misunderstood your perception on college life, but I still liked reading your article as some of the points are universally applicable lol. I am glad that you had a great freshman year.

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