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Are you a fresh-faced college freshman? If you’re in the middle of your first class semester, you might have found that College Life Expectation Vs Reality isn’t exactly what you imagined it was going to be.

What is the college reality, then? With the hope of more personal liberty and room to develop as an individual, the first year of college life presents many challenges. 

There are many things to remember, such as staying in a cramped dorm room with a friend, transitioning to college classes and a heavy workload, and having to adhere to a healthy sleep routine, etc. Don’t forget to check out what you can do on your first day of college to make it memorable.

Many students even fail to cope up with the pressure and avail of assignment help services. Students in the first year soon learn that College Life Expectation Vs Reality are two very distinct concepts. But we are not trying to scare you. 

Our time on campus will be memorable and life-changing, so being ready is always the smartest thing to do. Thus, we have listed some of the assumptions you might have for beginning college versus the facts about what it will be like.

Your mom might call you either to remind you how she had her nails done or some other utterly meaningless thing she picked up from the grocery store because her Empty Nester’s Syndrome will kick in right after you’re gone.

Only hours after you’ve done unpacking, she’ll ask you what your day is and what you’ve been up to. And at the worst times ever, your parents are going to call you, right as you felt you were convincing them not to do so.

Also, sometimes you might feel homesick and call your parents. You are always going back home during the holidays as well.

College activities

Expectation: I’m going to join and participate in 10 club activities and enjoy all of them!

Reality: It never goes to 8/10 sessions, but twice a week, it still sends emails

Oh, there’s nothing like the rush of ambition that you experience on campus during the first few weeks. 

“Anything I can do! “Sign up, sign me up!” “So much free time I have!” “are all feelings you have at the beginning of the year at the activities and student organizations fair.

Except, in addition to maybe two of the clubs on campus, you have no time for something. But whatever, next year is still there!

Skipping classes

Expectation: I will never miss class because I am here to study!

Reality: At least once a month, I will skip the classes!

For most students, attendance policies usually allow three unexplained absences for each student. Policies differ by class, but this is the usual case for students, and they always take advantage of it.

In the first semester, students try their best to take every class to save those three free absences for when it is needed most. Some students turn up to school even though being painfully sick, only because they hate skipping classes.

That all goes out of the door, though, when students discover that they could practically get a pair of free passes. This is extremely helpful for morning classes when you unintentionally oversleep or super sick or don’t feel like it.

Free time 

Expectation: All the free time in my schedule will be used for studying!

Reality: During some free time, take naps.

We all remember planning our first-semester timetable during orientation, thinking, “Wow, I’m going to have too much spare time between my classes to do homework!”. 

Although studying is what you should have spent time doing, most days were indeed something you ended up not doing at all.

If there will be more than an hour break between classes, you will be so tired that you may go back to bed for a little while. Power naps get you through the college work pressure and help you stay on track of deadlines.

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Expectation: Partying is something continuous. If you’re not partying, why are you going to college? We were ranked as the #1 party college, huh?

Reality: Staying in during the weekend night because of responsibilities.

Every student learns a great deal and does their hardest to keep their marks. If you don’t graduate, they’ll all be your mates, so you may as well join them. You are about to get a degree from one of the world’s best universities.

There are also several different events to take part in on-campus, such as student groups and intramural athletics, which do not include partying. If it is at a party or not, badgers still find a way to have fun!

Social situation 

Expectation: Your RA’s are going to be incredibly strict and intimidating.

Reality: Most of the RA’s are very nice, friendly, and sweet.

Bear in mind that they are students as well. They have lives too. When you see them out in public rather than brushing their teeth in the dorms, it’s going to be super strange. 

But, imagine if it’s two in the morning and you lost your key, they may even be too kind to help you open your door.

Making friends 

Expectation: You will meet all of your best friends.

Reality: You’re going to have a conversation with large groups of people whose names you will not remember in at least a month.

On Snapchat, you’ll add way too many random users right away. You’ll slowly understand that your real friends are the people you’re going to meet in university, through Greek life, through parties, and probably in entirely unexpected circumstances. 

Also Read 10 Excellent Ways for Improving Your Interpersonal Skills to know more about how to grow Communication Skills


Expectation: You’re not going to have the “freshman fifteen.” You’re going to eat very well or at least healthy-ish, and you’re going to work out on at least a semi-regular basis happily.

Reality: Always tired to work out.

Food vans, cheese curds, ice cream trucks, late-night burgers, Sushi Express, to mention a few. Yeah, there are plenty of temptations. And it’s super challenging to find the drive to work out after a long day of classes.

But the motto is to have fun at college, even if that means missing a couple of exercises and eating three too many pizza slices, then have the time of your life. And when you miss out on the 8 a.m., meeting people who help and love you.  

The classes are much more important than keeping a few excess pounds hidden, anyway.


Expectation: All-nighters are must do in college!

Reality: All-nighters suck totally!

Going for over 36 hours without sleep isn’t something you should never look forward to. If you are a procrastinator, so you can see this coming, of course, but it will teach you a lesson to never procrastinate so much again. 

You will be utterly unhappy, and it messes with the sense of time and capacity. Also, it will hamper your body and mind. All-nighters might sound fun, but they are not a long-term solution.

Studying for exams

Expectation: Not preparing for a test and acing it miraculously.

Reality: Not preparing for a test and then getting a D.

One college test covers a lot more information or syllabus than one high school exam, so it’s going to take more than what you can only recall from the top of your head. Incorporating ‘Student Council Ideas‘ into your study routine can be a game-changer in managing this vast syllabus. Remember, college exams are nothing like your high school exams, and you need to practice your lessons regularly; otherwise, you won’t be able to finish them in a day.

Now that you know some of the things you can’t or can expect from college life, you are ready to start. After the global pandemic in 2020, the college situation is never going to be the same. Let’s take a look at the new normals for students.

How COVID-19 Has Affected The College Realities?

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unparalleled upheaval across all sectors, notably affected higher education. Online education has been more of an anomaly than the norm for almost 20 years. It took only a few weeks for most colleges and universities to move to the internet completely.

While several university officials are planning a return to normalcy, the truth of the matter is simple: there is no turning back. Hence, considering the situation, we have to think about the changes that are going to be permanent and what students can expect. 

Online class troubles

The infrastructure criteria of online education, including good internet connectivity and an up-to-date computer, make it much harder for many low-income students to excel at university.

Many colleges expected that sending students home would drive disadvantaged students out any further. As a preemptive measure, before campuses shuttered last March, some institutions supplied students with laptops and internet connectivity.

But completing courses is more than an academic obstacle for college students without the internet at home or those who don’t have a laptop and were unable to get a loaner from their college. It is an unequal IT challenge. Without reliable equipment, listening to Zoom tutorials, doing online assignments, and taking practically proctored tests become exponentially more challenging. 

One of the major reasons for reopening campuses is the plight of low-income students. Students with a high risk of dropping out face mounting obstacles with fewer resources at their disposal without adequate technical footing.

Is flexibility a bliss or a curse? 

For many learners, online schooling is the new norm. Some distance learning versions have been exposed to most college students, and many have also become used to it. 

For example, some students claim that the versatility and additional time to think have helped them excel by posting a thoughtful answer in a thread rather than stammering something out after being called on in class.

On the other hand, the management skills or self-confidence required to take the lead in their education have not yet been established by many first-year college students. Although some have grown familiar with studying online, but don’t believe the online experience gives the same educational results.

Mental Health of students

Many college students have reported the deteriorating mental health since the start of the pandemic is another significant threat. Several spring and summer polls indicate that the pre-existing mental health crisis has been intensified by the danger of COVID-19 to college students.

Current stressors are taking on new aspects against a health crisis’s backdrop and an economic slowdown, such as trying to afford college and excel academically.

The pandemic has completely changed the educational perspective of both students and universities. It’s never going to be the same again, but now that you are a little aware of what to expect from colleges, you can make better choices about your college life!

If you want to know more about online learning, you can go through our blog on How To Be A Successful Online Learner: Techniques And Strategies.

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