High School vs. College
College Life | 

High School vs. College

It's a whole new ballgame, people.

Throughout high school, my teachers would always tell us they were "preparing us for college." And whenever my parents refused to help me with a problem--admittedly, one I was perfectly capable of fixing myself--they would say they were "making me independant for college life." But once I actually stepped foot on campus, it was pretty obvious: Nothing that I learned in my high school days could be applied to my new life.

College is, without a doubt, a whole new ballgame.

First off, in college there is no such thing as "popularity" like there was in high school. There isn't a table during lunch where all the popular kids sit. There aren't dances that you need a date for or games where all the "cool" students sit in one section. No one cares about how you dress, because everyone looks like a slob all the time. Friends aren't made by wearing the latest trends or by sitting at a certain table at lunch. In college, you make friends by being kind and considerate. Seriously. College is stressful enough on its own; and no one has the time or the desire to hang out with negative or snobby individuals. So don't be one. In college, the people with a lot of friends are the ones who are genuinely nice to others.

In high school, I would always try to skip class. By the end of each year, my absences would be maxed out and I literally couldn't miss another day. But in college, attendance usually doesn't matter. Many professors don't even take attendance. But the thing is, in college, every class actually does matter. Admit it, there would be days you went to class in high school and probably walked out of there not having learned anything. That does not happen in college--There may be a whole section on a test of information that was covered in just one day. And conveniently, that will probably be the day you decided to take a nap instead of attend class. Before I left for my second semester of college, my dad calculated how much each class was worth: If I skipped class to take a nap, that nap would cost me $70 dollars. I haven't skipped a class since.

Another college trend: Effort is attractive. Studying hard and using your resources is not looked down upon in college, whereas in high school, my peers would always pressure me into doing something fun, rather than studying for a test. But in college, every student is paying thousands of dollars just to learn, so most take it more seriously. In college, effort is noticed, appreciated, and highly respected among college students.

Something I always disliked about high school was that I felt like I had to look, act, or talk a certain way to be accepted. And when I look back on it, that way of thinking kept me from doing a lot of things that I would have really enjoyed or excelled at.

But being a college student gives you the freedom to break out, try new things, and embrace a different side of yourself. You may have been the cheerleader in high school, but you can be a sports writer in college. Or you may have been a band kid in your hometown, but in college you can embrace Greek life. There are no labels when you take your first steps on campus. You can create your own label--and your own college identity.

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The Types of People You Meet in Your College Dorm

There's every walk of life imaginable.

Ah, the first year dormitory. It's a cross between a zoo and a weird "millennials only" hotel. It's bizarre to be forced to live with people who have nothing in common with you, aside from the fact that you're scared shitless about the years to come.

Here's a little guide to some of the interesting creatures you'll come across in the dorms.

1. The "no parents, no rules" kid
We all know who I'm talking about here. Suddenly their 10 p.m. curfew is lifted; Mom and Dad don't drag them to church anymore; and they've tasted their first sip of alcohol. This one goes buck wild with their newfound freedom.

2. The "I have two roommates"
The ever awkward, "my roommate's boyfriend sleeps over EVERY NIGHT." How unfun this can be for the third-wheeling roomie. Chances are they've got some great noise canceling headphones.

3. The "OMG it's quiet hours"
Rare as it may be, some people do come to college to study and make the grades. These hallmates are particularly picky when it comes to following the RA's rules. Don't get on their badly side or they may tattle.

4. The "I'm joining every club" person
This breed flourishes in a college setting. Like to knit? Like comic books? Like to knit comic characters? No fear. There's a club for everything; and I guarantee this one will find 'em.

5. The "frequent visitor"
Chances are, somewhere among your incoming class of 10,000, someone hates their roommate (blasphemy, I know). Anyways, their BFF lives down the hall from you, so they keep a toothbrush and some spare pajamas in your dorm and stay in your hall more than their own.

6. The "homesick and heartbroken"
Thank God for unlimited minutes because these peeps would be SOL. These dorm mates may spend a great deal of time crying on the phone wishing they could "just go home". We all have our moments, but for some, it ain't easy missing mommy.

7. The "sucked into her sorority" girl
I have NOTHING against going Greek, don't get me wrong. Some people just go Greek so fast you forgot they ever lived with you. Their roommate is left alone to cry about the bid she never got and the roommate she barely ever had.

8. The "how the hell do I college?"
Perhaps the most populated breed of college student is the one who gets there and realizes that it's a whole new ball game. Like, what do you mean I have to do my own laundry and take myself to a doctor?! You're certainly not alone, sad college newbie! It gets easier with time.

9. The "crazy fish lady"
Weird, but the only pet you can get away with in a dorm are fish. In my opinion, fish are essentially decorative furniture. Someone in your hall REALLY misses their labradoodle and needs animal attention so bad that they overcompensate with fish.

10. The "smooth transitioner"
Hats off to you, smooth transitioners. These humans somehow make it look easy to get dumped into a new setting with new people and a new sense of freedom. Please write us a comprehensive tell all on how you were able to avoid the breakdowns and make The Dean's List.

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Watch Me Glow Up

What happens when you don't peak in high school.

Chances are, the super popular kids from your high school probably aren't doing much now. And that super shy, but seriously smart kid from your bio class freshman year is a total smokeshow and has a full ride to an Ivy League. It's the way it always goes.

And I'm also going to go ahead and take a guess that you yourself did not peak in high school. While it may have sucked at the time, you're one of the lucky ones. Here's why.

You see so many people who peaked early end up at community college in your hometown.
I'm not bashing community college here. What I am bashing is people who stick around because they're so scared to leave the small-time fame and popularity they had in high school behind.

They peaked so hard that they aren't really sure where their life will go from there. That's a pretty sad thing for an 18-year-old kid. Thank God you have plenty of peaking left to do, and can look forward to new places and new adventures without the fear that you've already experienced the best life has to offer you.

The people who were rude to you in high school want to be your best friend now.
It's a classic Cinderella story. (Wow, that was fucking cheesy.) Honestly though, high-school-wallflower-turns-successful-and-attractive-adult is a tale as old as time. Plus it always ends in "popular" kids from your high school either wanting to fuck you or be you. Too bad they didn't see how great you were then. You're on to bigger and better things.

You probably won't peak in college either.
This is just as much of a blessing as not peaking in high school is. If I have 75-plus years on this Earth I'm going to be super bummed if I hit my peak before I even turn 22. There is so much life to live after school--but you already knew that.

You're more successful than your peers.
If you didn't peak in high school it's probably because you were too busy focusing on other things. While you had your good group of friends, a thriving social life probably wasn't the top priority in your life. You were focused on grades or a passion turned side hustle and trust me, if that isn't benefiting you now, it's definitely going to.

You're more content wherever you are in your life.
You don't have any expectations for how much people will love you or how many friends you have. You're taking it day by day and enjoying everything life has to offer. It's not that your expectations are low, you've just learned from watching the people who peaked in high school that being popular and cool isn't necessarily a key to a solid life.

You have a lot to look forward to.
There is reward in not peaking too young. You get the chance to look forward to something exciting. You get the chance to live everyday knowing you're only getting better. It's all uphill from here.

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Keeping In Touch With High School Teachers

Just another excuse to buy avocado toast, millennials.

Over the weekend, two of my best friends and I went to brunch with our high school senior class dean. Mr. Buckingham (Buck for short), who helped my close friends and I through senior year tremendously.

As we all exchanged stories about our school, he referred to someone as an octopus, to which I responded "Buck, you are the definition of an octopus." Buck isn't and has never been your typical high school teacher or class dean.

By octopus, he meant someone who concerns themselves in various different issues, many of which never involved them in the first place. Buck continually tried to help struggling and misunderstood students, using the-road-less-traveled-method, and stepped on many teachers toes in doing so.

Good thing he did though, because he was the only person who the students actually trusted to help them. (He was also easily the funniest, most what-you-see-is-what-you-get teacher I've ever met).

Buck is a no-bullshit, no-nonsense guy who was my absolute saving grace senior year.

But I know I'm not the only student who has a Buck. I think that everyone has had a teacher who has made a hugely positive impact on their lives.

Perhaps a teacher worked with you individually so you could have a better grasp on the material. Maybe they told you the honest truth when no one else would. Or maybe, they were simply there for you.

Our teachers before college help shape our lives and experiences significantly. They have, in one way or another, made it possible for us to go to college and be successful, and such an important relationship doesn't, and shouldn't, have to end at high school graduation.

Most students probably only have a strong relationship with a couple of teachers, which makes sense. There were many, many teachers who impacted my school experience in a wonderful way, but the relationships we developed resulted from classes or club activities.

Buck and I became close because he got to know me as a person, rather than a student. This is what made him so beloved, he gave a shit about who you were, and everything else was secondary. I only needed one exceptionally important bond, because that's the one that made the biggest difference to me.

Buck was always a day-one, real-one and continues to be just that. He continues to be a mentor to me, and the amity between a teacher and a student is wonderfully unique and in many cases, timeless. Rather than telling our teachers how much they meant to us, show it.

I really appreciate the ability to come home from school and reminisce on the past with someone who truly understands those experiences. Anyone who is an incoming freshman, cherish these bonds. Do not let them go.

College professors will never come close to your high school teachers in this way. But for those of you who have neglected to keep in touch with teachers you loved dearly, it's never too late (and usually they'll pay for your meal).

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A Boarding School Student's Guide to College

It's quite the adjustment.

Going to boarding school is a unique high school experience, and you might have a bit of culture shock when it's time to go off to college. As a boarding school graduate myself, I'd like to offer a few tips to help you adjust. I know you're probably ready to go ham after years of restriction, but trust me, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Don't abuse your internet privileges.

Having internet all night used to be a dream, and an occasional dream come true when the server was down. Just because you can stream Netflix all night doesn't mean you should, especially if you have an 8 a.m. class. Sleep is important.

It will feel weird not having to sign a book to leave campus.

Yes, you can leave for the weekend and tell no one. If you are going out, make sure to tell your roommate, though. You don't want to worry them when you don't come back for the night.

Wearing sweatpants and jeans to class is perfectly normal.

Who knew? Uniforms and dress codes don't exist in college. As soon as graduation passes, go get rid of your high school wardrobe and replace it with your new uniform: leggings and sweatpants.

You have to relearn how to act around the opposite sex.

At a single sex school, there are just certain topics that are OK to talk about around absolutely anyone, including the person who just moved in down the hall. When you're back around mixed company, you have to figure out what is appropriate and what isn't...at least until you get to know each other better. Then, it's fair game.

Sports are no longer required.

You're going to have to find another way to get in your exercise if you don't plan on joining your school's teams. Gyms in college are bigger and usually offer more things to do than your high school gym. If you still want to keep up with sports, club or intramural sports offer a great alternative without the commitment.

Don't stretch yourself too thin.

In high school, you could balance five clubs, sports, and a full load of homework every night. You will need to plan your time wisely. There are no bells telling you where to go next. That isn't to say you can't join clubs but do so with caution. You still have an 18-credit course load and parties to go to.

Seniors, you've got a lot ahead of you. Honestly, you're going to miss your high school sometimes and that's OK. Just don't let it hold you back from experiencing new things. Now with this knowledge, go forth and conquer the college scene, graduates.

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Struggles of a High School Overachiever Turned Average College Kid

Those were the days, I tell ya.

Gone are the days of the Honor Roll and lettering in Varsity sports. College is a bigger pond...or an ocean and you're just a little fish now. It's a big adjustment when your best used to make you the best and now it just keeps your head above water.

You went from captain of your sports team to getting cut from club.
I know college athletics are a bit more...challenging than high school sports, but this is a huge adjustment. Throwback when you used to start the games in high school and now you barely get playing time in intramurals.

Your planner was once a neat, well organized safe haven.
My planner is covered from top to bottom with the endless shit I have to do. There are physically not enough hours in the day but it's either fail the class or work through every meal.

Straight A's are a long gone thing of the past.
What I wouldn't give to see straight A's on my transcript right now. In high school, I'd be sobbing if I got a C. These days, I'm still sobbing when I get C's but it's because I'm so thankful it's nothing worse.

You used to babysit for your math teacher, but your calc professor doesn't know your name.
It's a huge adjustment going from your teachers saying, "How's your mom's new job going?" to, "Yes, purple shirt in the back?"

The flu was once a valid reason to skip class, but now you'd rather go to Chem on your deathbed.
The days of "playing sick" are so behind you. Now it's time to cry if you have a fever and have to skip class because for the 50 minutes you miss, it'll take two weeks to catch up.

You were the president of multiple clubs and now you can barely stay awake to do homework.
It was a lot easier to load up your plate in high school. Key Club, Honors Society, Debate, you name it, and you still had time for Monday night TV. Not anymore.

You never needed to nap, now you plan your life around them.
In high school, naps were rare and not necessary to function. In college, they are a mandatory part of the day.

Mom never let me have coffee, now it's in my blood.
Remember when, "coffee will stunt your growth" was your mom's catch phrase? Now you pray that one day someone will invent an IV drip of espresso so you don't have to waste time in the coffee shop line.