Going Pro: A Reflection on First Semester in College

I boarded for two years at Andover, so I reasoned that my prep-school experience would give me a head start on the college life. I had already lived in a dorm. I had already taken difficult classes, and I had already learned to juggle multiple commitments. However, I found that college is not just the next level of prep school, and for your reading pleasure, I have compiled a list of three things I wish I would have known before going to college. 1. Time management is a new monster. At Andover, I was an active member in clubs, played sports, did all/most of my homework and got about eight hours of sleep each night. In college, I find myself up late doing work, even though I only have class half the amount of time I did in high school. Plus I am not a member of nearly as many organizations as I was at PA. Finally, I realized that if a professor, who holds class once every Tuesday, assigns a book to read for homework, then I should probably start reading it before Sunday night. You think that’s a no-brainer? Well, you are perfectly correct, but still be prepared. Poor time management is an easy way to fall behind. 2. The new 8:00 a.m. is 10 a.m. When you see that 9:25 a.m. Spanish class in the course of study, you may think, “Sleep in!” Wrong. You’ll probably stay up and out a lot longer in college thanks to the lack of check-ins, surly house counselors, and parietal rules, so think twice about taking that early class unless you are either a true morning person or your middle name is Folgers. 3. Social life revolves around Milwaukee’s Best Light. If you thought that Ryley (Underwood?) dances are wild, you will feel right at home at college dances, which are basically the same except most of the people at the dance have pre-gamed before coming. In an attempt not to condone underage drinking, yet still remain realistic about college life, I will say that one should either be prepared to act responsibly in the presence of alcohol or be primed to search for sober outlets of entertainment. Such venues are around; they just may require a little more searching for in order to find. I’m not sure if you’ll remember these three things since college is at least six months away for the oldest of you who may read this article, but if not, rest assured that PA does train us for the next level. Hopefully, you will leave Andover with a mind fully equipped to deal with the challenges that come with entering any new environment. Although the transition for each of us may exist in varying degrees of difficulty, we all possess the ability to take our lumps and bounce back stronger.