Five ways to deal with unmet expectations of freshman year

You did it! You finally graduated from what seemed like an endless pit of education called high school; or, if you are one of ‘those’people, four years of pure bliss. Walking off to university with expectations in your backpack was the easiest thing you ever did. But things don’t always work out. Below are five ways to deal with disappointments at the beginning of your freshman year, so that the rest of the semester, and hopefully university life, becomes the best experience ever.


Expectation: Freshman year is going to start out simple.

This expectation resonates with a lot of freshmen. But after the first week of classes, everyone suddenly needs reading glasses and becomes a coffee addict. It feels as though the workloadof high school, which drove us to the arms of heavy metal rock music and poor decision-making, was only the trailer for what is to be an approximately 26,280-hourlong movie titled “University,” starring all-nighters and, again, poor decision-making.


How to deal with it: Accept the fact that you are no longer in high school and that you will have to read more and read deeply in a very short amount of time. Sometimes it will feel like the longer you read, the more it doesn’t make any sense. That’s when you have to come up with a reading schedule to balance everything out. The sooner you adjust yourself to the demanding load of university, the better you will handle it during those particularly rough moments.


Expectation: I won’t have to sacrifice.

Let me paint you a picture of the perfect freshman I imagined I myself would be before university started. She wakes up at six and goes to her morning classes on time. She works for 20 hours a week and is an active member of five different clubs. She studies for five hours a day and submits assignments a week early. On top of that, she gets eight hours of sleep a night. A female Sheldon Cooper, anyone? Well, let’s just say that was far from reality. I sat in my 9 A.M. class bug-eyed, torn between dropping a quiz or my sanity. I was in over my head.



How to deal with it: You are not a robot. You cannot work efficiently and still be able to cram everything in 24 hours. Know your limits and prioritize. As much as we would like to believe that we can make it to every university event and still get a perfect score without bursting into flames in the middle of the semester, we can’t. So, don’t be reluctant to make some sacrifices. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.


Expectation: I will be a healthy eater.

Okay. I am not necessarily a junk-food loving person, but I can pretty much infer that I, and many millennials, want to be healthy eaters. It could be to avoid the “freshman 15” (although with the rate I’m going, it will be more of like “freshman 50”) or to adopt a new eating habit. That’s good. But not in freshman year. Temptations, declining self-control, no parents to serve you broccoli, and you being too busy (see points 1 and 2) to care about your diet can lead to a co-dependent relationship with ramen noodles. That’s life.


How to deal with it: Let it go. Like I said earlier, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. But if you can have it, eat it and then don’t feel guilty about it. It is okay that you don’t have the time to recreate a Pinterest dish under 500 calories. To be honest, I would be worried if you did. Just let go of the idea that you have to eat healthy all the time. Plus, all the frantic running you will probably do to make it to class on time will make up for that.


Expectation: Making friends will be easy

“So, OMG! I met this girl in the hallway and she is now my best friend!!”It looks so easy, as if you both wore the same Nikes one day and it was fate all along. But making friends or even maintaining friends is hard in university. Some people are shy, some people have their own circle and some people are just loners (not that it’s a bad thing). Shifting through all those people during freshman year and finding a good friend is quite hard. And we, so innocently, might walk into university life planning how we’re going to name our firstborns with each other’s names.


How to deal with it: Love the time you have with yourself. Company isn’t everything. Appreciate being alone and use it for self-development. Friendship is about the bond and mutual understanding that influence you in a beautiful way. To expect that sort of relationship to happen overnight is misguided. Be nice. Live your life. And if you happen to find the girl from the hallway sitting next to you in class, all you have to say is “hello.”


Expectation: I am going to start fresh and reinvent myself.

Why? Because we think that university is the perfect time to be the perfect version of ourselves. Nobody really knew us from before and that means we can recreate our persona. While we were too busy getting a makeover, we forgot to thank ourselves for getting us through high school.


How to deal with it: Forgive, forget, and be free. There is absolutely no need for you to become this different person unless you were the king of tardies in high school. Forgive the mistakes and slip-ups you make. Forget the idea that becoming someone new will somehow make things better. Then, be free and let your inner self shine through. Don’t let the notion of starting fresh fool you. It is not about starting from square one but about starting a new chapter.


In this day and age, it is true that university is exciting. I mean, no parents, no curfew and we get to act like adults even though we have the attention span of a toddler. It doesn’t get better than that, right?  But we forget that freshman year is a time to know what works for us and what doesn’t. Expectations, on the other hand, don’t allow us to experience reality by keeping us in an illusion of comfort zones. Sometimes we might have them fulfilled, or rather reality knocks some sense into us. And that’s okay. We should try our best to live in the moment and find ways to make life even better while keeping our outrageous expectations at bay. But if expectations and resulting disappointments are keeping you down, just remember: you have four years to stand back up.

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