John W Banagan

Freshman Year Lessons You Definitely Didn’t Learn In Class

It was an education. Your professors had little to do with any of it.

You just had the most exciting, terrifying and possibly transformative year of your life, leaving behind everything you'd known for the previous 18. One thing is for certain: It taught you a lot, and academics only played a part. (You'll NEVER forget your flip-flops before showering in the dorm again.) Here are the life lessons you picked up without even realizing it:

  • You have to make yourself do things that aren't mandatory

    In high school, if you didn't show up to class, the police would've showed up at your door. In college, though, nobody can make you attend a lecture. The professor might not even know whether you bothered to show up all semester -- and even if they do, they won't call your parents to tell on you, because they're just that chill. This is a beautiful, freeing realization.

    Unfortunately, it also means you'll never pass that final exam. Hopefully you learned this before you had to take Biology again, but if not, now you do. And on the bright side, it's gonna be pretty dope to see your professor again. He really was a chill dude.

  • Being a roommate means keeping your passive-aggressive side in check

    Growing up, if you shared a room with a sibling and they annoyed you, all it took was a little fist-fighting or face-screaming to let them know you weren't pleased. Now you're an "adult," and both of those things are considered psychotic behavior -- but you can't be vindictively subtle about it either.

    Let's say your new roomie leaves their dirty undies on your side of the room, so you leave a passive-aggressive note with a more passive-aggressive smiley-face. It feels good, but now you've made it toxic with the person who sleeps six feet away from your face. Handle those differences with some simple conversation, not resentment, or else this'll happen all over again with a different roommate sophomore year.

  • You've gotta pace yourself

    You're in college and you can party every night! Like ... every night! Every. Single. Night. This is not a good thing, and you've got the mornings spent hunched over a toilet to prove it. Now you know what Spider-Man has known for decades: With great power comes great responsibility. You're a better person for it, and a few pounds lighter.

  • You're not the only weirdo in the world

    In high school, there were about three different types of people you could be; otherwise you were considered an outcast. Now, after a year of college, you've learned that things you thought were weird are NOWHERE NEAR IT. You were nervous to talk about "Lord Of The Rings" a year ago, and now you're walking to class next to a dude in a freakin' wizard costume.

    You can like whatever you want to like in college, and you'll find plenty of people who like the same thing. You've let your freak flag fly, and met some awesome people because of it. Chances are they'll even be your closest lifelong friends.

  • Parents actually do understand most things

    Sure, they're old, boring and call you way too much, but by now you know they're good for more than just doing your laundry (because you're doing it yourself now). They've been your age, and not that much has changed -- well, most things have changed, but not the things that matter.

    They know what it's like to be intimidated, to not know where you fit in, even to get called an a--hole by an ex while you're in line for tacos at the dining hall. You're starting to learn that your parents are actually people just like you, and maybe their advice about life isn't so useless. Plus, they might do your laundry again when you go back home this summer, and it's still the best.