There is no easy answer to this question because it varies so dramatically based upon the person. College changes a lot of things. It is typically the first experience you have in your young adult life where you are forced to completely step outside of your comfort zone. In my own life, those have been the most eye-opening and raw experiences of self betterment that I have ever encountered. Stepping out of your comfort zone is not only important, but completely critical.
When you go to college your level of comfort changes all together. The places and faces you had seen your entire life are no longer there. You are’t a hot-shot-senior in your home town anymore, but rather an 18-year-old freshman walking around a big campus somewhat aimlessly hoping someone from your floor will be willing to meet you at the dining hall. There are a few key things that change, and should change.
- Your priorities change. You learn what is important because you learn what has to be. No one is telling you how to behave or what to do anymore, because it’s essentially your decision to fail or succeed.
- Your friends change. Typically you find out who your real friends are when you get to college. It makes or breaks a lot of the relationships that seemed like second nature because of convenience and happenstance.
- Your confidence and sense of self changes. You have to be comfortable with who you are and what you want when you get to college. You aren’t in the same classes with your friends anymore and you aren’t in a place where you already have established an identity.
- Your judgements change. Most people go into college with certain judgements and preconceived notions they created growing up and those notions end up immediately disproved. College is a diverse community. You’re surrounded by new behaviors and backgrounds that open your eyes to the differences we all possess. You learn and build a lot more empathy and cultural understanding.
- Your direction changes. More often than not, students go into college with one major and leave with another. Hell, a lot of the times they change it a few times, and then that major isn’t even what they end up going into post-grad. Don’t worry about that. Determine what you’re passionate about and follow it. The direction will always change, just don’t let your heart change with it.
- Your strength changes, because it grows. I am going to be as candid as humanly possible because someone needs to be for you. In college, you are going to do some stupid shit. It’s almost like a qualification for graduation that you make a few mistakes, and some more laughable than others. The fact is that you are also going to make great decisions, in the forms of friendship, memories, hard work and ambitious strides towards who you are. You will become stronger and more complex because that’s simply what experiences do to you. They change you. They mold you into the person you will one day become, and that’s the most important thing college will change.