Lean in close and I’ll tell you a secret: College isn’t at all like what your 10th grade English teacher said it’d be. As a recent UT alumna, I think I can speak for most students when I say that college isn’t like what we were led to believe. My high school teachers made it seem like a giant, scary creature looming over my future when, in reality, it wasn’t that at all. Classes were easier than I thought they’d be, professors more laid back and my schedule more open. Yet, my entire high school career, I was told the exact opposite. So here are some lies my high school teachers told me (and yours probably told you) and the truth about what college is really like.
1. You won’t be able to write the paper the night before it’s due.
Grab that cup of joe, your favorite energy drink and crank up that music because you can totally start writing that paper at midnight… and finish it. In some cases, I found myself writing a paper an hour before it was due. Sure, the stress almost killed me, but I always got it done and I usually received an A or a B. I lost some sleep but, for a procrastinator like myself, there’s no better way to write than under pressure. (I even wrote this column the night before it was printed.)
2. Professors are always professional.
Professors might seem intimidating on day one, but they are just people like you and me. Of course, they are knowledgeable and certainly deserve your respect, but they aren’t gods. Go to their office hours. Ask them questions. Talk to them after class. You’ll soon realize that your professors just want to be your friend and coach you and help you pass the class. They’ll crack jokes, send you smiley faces at the end of their emails and some may even drop the f bomb every now and then (or every couple minutes like one of mine did).
3. You won’t be allowed to use Wikipedia as a source.
I’ll admit this is a rule in some classes but, in most, professors simply do not care. Wikipedia is fair game when you needed a source for a Powerpoint or Prezi presentation or need an extra source for a research paper. As long as the information is accurate, you’re good to go.
4. You can never skip class.
No matter which class you are in, you will end up skipping a day or two with no detriment to your grade at all. Even professors who take attendance will let you skip one to three days, no strings attached. Then there are the professors who never even bother to take attendance, in which case you decide if it’s really worth it to go to that 8 a.m. class. Just be sure that you keep up with the workload and make deadlines. Skipping class doesn’t have to equal a failing grade.
5. College will prepare you for the real world.
This is one of the bigger lies floating through those high school hallways. I found that only one or two classes gave me real practice in the field in which I am work. The rest were filler, electives and gen ed. courses full of information that were completely irrelevant to my major. The overwhelming majority of my hands-on experience (the kind that got me a job) came from my internship at the Independent Collegian. So I highly recommend applying for an internship and learning how a real-world workplace functions. This will prepare you better than any class ever can.
6. You have to be a genius to go to college.
Arguably the biggest lie ever, college is for anyone who wants to go. No matter who you are, you can succeed in college if you work hard and stay dedicated. College is a time to start afresh and take control of your education. So if your grades weren’t too hot in high school, now’s your chance to change that. All it takes is a determined spirit and the willingness to learn. If you have those two things, you can conquer college, believe me.