As the last days of summer count down, many families students are getting ready to load up their cars and drive their students to their first year of college. Every new class of freshmen moving into college dorms brings with pieces of advice, some good, some bad, some that gets repeated year after year. While many of these traditional words of warning or encouragement can stress new students out, many of these handed down words of wisdom are really reminders to take advantage of the new opportunities college presents. Here are five classic college myths that we’ve turned on it’s head so students can approach their freshman year with confidence and get on the road to success:
Freshman year is all about partying.
Sure, the University of Iowa was recently voted the second-biggest party school in the country, but it also is nationally recognized for offering top-notch academic programs in over 100 areas of study. Just as every school, big or small, has a library, every school also has parties. A school’s reputation for “partying” should neither attract nor repel students. A social life is something to be balanced with your academic goals. There’s no such thing as “inevitable partying.”
The only way to succeed is to study all the time.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some students think that the only way to succeed is to make the library their second home, buried in books. Removing all social involvement from the college experience can have just as negative impact as having too much of a social live. Finding volunteering opportunities or getting involved with extracurricular activities is vital to getting the most out of college. Not only does involvement lead to meeting new people and making unique memories, it helps teach the importance of prioritization and time management. Extracurricular activities also build networking skills that will serve students well after college.
“The Freshman 15”
Health is another area where new college students learn to find balance. “The Freshman 15,” the legend that forecasts weight gain when students live away from home for the first time, is more often used by students as an excuse for unhealthy eating than it is a fate that awaits all students. The best way to avoid the curse of “The Freshman 15” is for students to seize their new-found freedom as a chance to establish healthy habits. Joining intramural sports teams not only gives an opportunity to be healthy, but also a great chance to meet new people.
Finals week will stress you out!
There’s a lot riding on finals. So, yes, there’s bound to be some stress. But the classic all-night cram sessions ahead of mid-terms or during finals week is often due more to poor preparation than anything else. Again, the first semester of college is about building positive habits. Students dreading finals week are the same students who haven’t been paying attention to class, not doing their assignments or skipping class altogether. Take the opportunity that college provides by going to class and being prepared. Staying on top of studies is the easiest way to avoid the stress of finals week.
It was the same way when I was in college.
If there’s one myth that shouldn’t be completely debunked, it’s this one. On one hand, students can gain great insight listening to advice from older relatives looking to help ease the transition to college by sharing stories of their own experiences. But even advice from older siblings who may have recently finished their freshman year should only be trusted so far as every student’s experience at college is unique to them based on what they study, what they’re looking for from college and, basically, because every person is different.
BUT, one of the biggest mistakes that students make as they transition into college is thinking that they have to do it all on their own. If a student feels stuck, confused or just needs to talk someone about the change from high school to college, any advice is good advice. Friends and family will know a student best, but students shouldn’t be afraid to use the resources at their school, as they can find experts on everything from academic and financial concerns to emotional and health issues who can help make college the most enjoyable and rewarding experience possible.