Those Magic Changes from High School to College

By Samantha Pitkin on September 12, 2014

Coming to the University of Maryland from Massachusetts proved to be nothing less than a shock to my system. I’m now a sophomore at UMD and half of the time I still don’t know where I’m going, what I’m doing, or what I want to do with my life.

But I’ve been told, and come to realize with a little bit of life and college experience now under my belt, that it’s okay not to know. One day you will eventually have to figure out what type of career you want, or if you want to start a family or travel the world, but for now it’s okay to just lie down after a long day and binge watch Netflix until three in the morning.

One of the most intimidating things that I’ve had to deal with at college is the sheer size of this school. I came from an average sized high school in a very urban area outside of Boston, where diversity reigned supreme and people used phrases such as “wicked cool” or “mad led.”

I think that a relative of mine explained it best when I was talking to her about just how different college was from high school. She said, “Of course it’s different, it’s College Land.” And she was absolutely right.

College is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. The people, food, activities, location, pretty much everything about it, revolves around this enormous school. The closest example to this that I can think of is sleep away camp, and even that doesn’t come remotely close to “College Land.”

For four years you’re essentially stuck in this bubble filled with late night study sessions, overpriced textbooks, ultimate frisbee, and pizza for all meals of the day. So how, if at all, does this prepare us for the “real world?”

Whether you realize it or not, you’re going to grow and change as a person drastically throughout your first semester of school, and continuously throughout all of your college years. The people you surround yourself with and the classes you take have a large impact on the types of decisions you make, as well as the overall type of person you become.

You may not always make the right choice, but you’re human and you can only continue to grow if you make mistakes. How are you going to know that going out and partying the night before your 8 a.m. midterm is a bad idea unless you try it? This same rule of thumb even applies to the better choices that you make, like joining a new club or organization. You’ll never know whether or not you like it until you try it.

While these might not all be “real world” experiences, they most definitely help to determine what kind of person you will be when you’re eventually shoved out into the “real world.”

Until then, try to soak in as many of these new experiences as possible without becoming too overwhelmed, because before you know it you’ll be working full time, paying taxes, and saving for your retirement, and I doubt that you’re in a rush for any of that to happen.

Hi! I am the newest editor for the University of Maryland Uloop chapter and a former Uloop contributor. When I'm not studying or writing I like to hike, kayak and travel! Feel free to contact me here if you have any questions or an interest in becoming a contributor for UMD!

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