What to Expect: The Transition from High School to College

So, high school is obviously very different from college. I don’t think it takes a genius to put that conclusion together. What might not be too obvious is just how different it is. I am the oldest child which meant I was the first one to go to college in the new age of higher education. I went in not really knowing what to expect as I went to a much larger school than my cousins that were closer to my age. But, from moving them in and visiting vs. what I’ve experienced at Carolina; I can tell you that the basic college structure is going to be pretty similar for all of us.

Did you thrive in high school? Are you a little bit nervous about how you’re going to continue being your best in a new, harder, and more competitive atmosphere? Same, same, same. So, today I figured I would just address some things about college that are gonna blow your fresh out of high school minds.


Your professors are still there to help you, but no longer there to babysit you.

If you excelled in high school, this won’t really be a huge thing for you. But, I’m going to include it anyway. I can’t tell you how important it is to take ownership of your education from here on out. Your high school teachers were likely teaching to a curriculum and weren’t maybe excited about reliving the same teaching plan they’ve been doing for the past 10 years.

That aspect of teaching doesn’t really change much. Some professors could care less about teaching intro biology. But, it’s a requirement of their job and they have to do it. This might make them slightly unpleasant but you can work around that.

Really, the big thing that changes is that you are responsible for keeping on top of deadlines and making sure that you are understanding the material. This is especially true for large lecture classes. Professors are not writing progress reports on every one of their 400 students. NOPE. A big thing college students love about college is the independence; and that extends all the way to the academic side. Just a heads up!

Your schedule is actually yours and is set by you.

This is honestly one of my favorite things about college. Think about it: you no longer have to take generic classes[I mean kind of, but less generic than Honors World History 10] and you can pick when you’re ready to school. I liked morning classes and aim for 9 or 10; but i definitely have friends who like late afternoon classes around 2pm. To each his own.

I would keep in mind that some classes that you’re going to be required to take are only offered at certain times. You might have to sit through your introductory chemistry course at a time that you don’t fancy completely. But, it’s just for a semester. Also, scheduling classes can be a nightmare, so you need to go in being prepared. Check out my tips here.

You will meet a ton of new people. Write down names and get numbers or you will forget and probably never see them again.

Yeah, so since coming to college, I’ve become horrible at remembering names. It’s like my brain recognizes that someone is going to say their name and then just cuts out. I don’t know why and it’s honestly horrible. Give me a picture of them and their name and I’ll have it memorized till the day I die. I guess it’s just cementing the truth that I am a visual learner.

My tip here is to casually ask them if you can add them on Facebook. It’ll give you some first week lunch buddies and some contacts in case you’re ever in trouble in the first weeks of the year. Super helpful if you are an out of state student like me and have absolutely no clue who’s going to be at your school other than your roommate!

There’s not one way your college experience is supposed to go.

You might love your first year and you might hate it. You might meet your long lost BFF, you might not. Don’t let that discourage you from having the best time that you CAN have.

A couple of days ago, I was having a rather candid conversation with some of my friends here in San Diego about how everyone talks about how everyone says that your college years are the best four years of your life. For some of us {I’d even go out on a limb, and say most of us}, it’s more likely to be maybe the best year or two of your life.

Not to be a Debby Downer, but I can say that first year can suck. Whether you gain weight, miss home, or get tired of being stuck on campus in the noisy dorm, it may not be the shiny college experience everyone has gone on and on about. For me, first year was a blast. My classes were easy and I made a ton of new friends. Sophomore slump was so real for me and that kind of sucked. It’s gone pretty up hill from there!

I wouldn’t be so surprised if your first few semesters aren’t picture perfect. I promise it’s not you. In fact, it’s totally normal to not find your groove for a couple of semesters especially when you have the expectations and comfortabilities from high school still fresh on the brain.

It’s totally okay if you don’t feel homesick when everyone else is; you’ll probably miss the most random of things though.

To be honest, I flourish on my own. It’s a strength and a weakness. I never really got homesick; mostly because technology has always been my thing. I was pretty good about calling when I would start missing my fam and tried to stay away from going back home for most of the first semester!

I think I missed my car more than anything. Is that bad? Just trying to be transparent here.


Yeah, high school is so far in the back of my mind at this point because it is so irrelevant to everything in my life right now. You can forge a whole new path in college, and make a true impact on all different kinds of people. Whether you’re going to school with 50 of your high school classmates or literally going across the country, everyone is looking to make new friends. Everyone is trying to figure out the rest of their lives. Everyone is trying to have fun. Loosen up, go to class, and try something new.

Don’t put yourself in a box and don’t push yourself to hard.

keep on keepin’ on,