College is Coming - And It’s Definitely Different From High School

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By: Alana James

You’ve graduated high school - finally! Now you’re off to experience brand new things and... it’s completely intimidating. The transition from high school to college is one of the most unnerving and chaotic things you’ll ever experience in your young adult life. Sure, it can be exciting: dorm shopping, exploring your school’s clubs, buying campus merch, etc. But, in the end, turning 18 marks becoming a (somewhat) independent adult. High school prepares us for entering college and provides the right knowledge for advancement after graduation - to a certain extent. Outside of polynomials and Shakespeare, there's SO much more adulthood throws at you.

You Suspect An Imposter...And It’s You.

The chances of getting Imposter Syndrome are higher than ever. Imposter Syndrome is when an individual doubts their accomplishments and sees themselves as a fraud. In high school, it may have been lingering in the shadows, coming out to play every now and then. College, though, is a whole new scenario. You leave the niche and local community of high school and enter a completely different setting. People most likely won’t be from the same state, city - maybe even country. Being introduced to a more diverse population (economic-wise, education-wise, etc.) can cause you to doubt your own strengths and accomplishments, making you feel like an outsider. Just know, despite the facade of others, almost everyone is feeling the same. If anything, think of this as an opportunity to meet people with different life experiences. You worked hard to get where you are, so don’t doubt yourself. 

You Don’t Have To Know It All, You’re On The Right Track

You don’t have to know exactly what you’re doing with your life from day one. In high school, we all had to go through those aptitude tests to help determine future career paths. The reality is, the world offers you a lot more than just the generic boxes on those tests. Colleges have a lot more opportunities to help uncover what path is right for you. Freshman year is literally dedicated to familiarizing you with college life and introducing new concepts and experiences. Don’t feel like you have to play catch up, because you’re right on track. 

Big Brother is Watching...But Usually Not

This really depends on the structure of your college, but most of the time professors aren’t going to be watching you 24/7 keeping you out of trouble. From kindergarten to senior year, there was always this looming fear of the principal catching you doing something bad. Meanwhile, in college, the only times you’ll likely see the university president are the opening ceremony... and graduation. Make decisions wisely. The college experience offers you a lot, but not everything is good. Be aware of what kind of people you surround yourself with because the end result will be more than detention. 

“Embrace the Glorious Mess that You Are” - Elizabeth Gilbert

Barely anyone really knows what’s going on in college. Though, unlike in high school, no one’s afraid to admit it anymore. Declaring a major doesn’t mean you're going to keep it. Changing your major once already doesn’t mean you can’t change it again. Everyone is trying to figure themselves out and what they want out of life. You’re not really asked to address this question of self-fulfillment on such a large and intense scale in high school. So, once you enter college, it makes sense if you’re overwhelmed and start to rethink things, over and over again. It’s all a part of the process. Trust me, you’re not alone. 

Being in college allows you to put yourself in perspective like never before. There’s not a huge difference between you and me, or anyone else - we’re all on this journey together.