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.
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.
Some things you just have to find out for yourself.