The Things I Did Not Expect About College

(Photo by Samantha De La O)

The Things I Did Not Expect About College

By Ashley Scriven

I did not expect the rooms to be as small as they were. Three girls crammed into a dorm room was tight. Every inch of the walls were covered in decorations and there was only enough floor space to make it to our beds. Living so close together caused a lot of tension and we had our moments of drama.

I did not expect my first semester of classes to be so easy. After a rigorous senior year, my general education classes were a breeze. I only had a few classes a day and I did not expect all the free time that I had.

I did not expect to become addicted to coffee. Waking up at 6:30 a.m. every morning, working two jobs on top of 18 units makes coffee absolutely essential. People often want to chat over a cup of coffee and coffee shops usually have free Wi-Fi. During finals week, it’s not hard to find a cup of joe on a college campus. Most students, and professors as well, are caffeine junkies.

I did not expect to become a runner and a regular at the gym. “Freshman 15” actually does happen and I had to force myself to exercise to make up for the late night donut runs. Exercise makes a good study break too. When I get too stressed out or too hyped up on coffee, a good run usually makes me return to normal.

I did not expect my health to become a problem. Too many nights of not enough sleep plus the college student diet full of sugar and caffeine wore my system out. I came down with mono my first year as many students do, and had to take a semester off. I learned my lesson after that and began going to bed early and eating lots of spinach and protein. I’ve begun reading nutrition labels and avoiding weird ingredients. I have also learned to keep Emergen-C on hand, as well as cough drops and tea.

I did not expect the “Sophomore Slump.” No one told me the second year is a lot harder than the first. Sophomore year is when your “real” college education begins. I spent finals week locked in my room writing research papers. Also, sophomore year is when many people get jobs and suddenly no one has time to hang out. I had to learn to be intentional about hanging out with people and investing in friendships.

I did not expect to change my mind about my career path. I thought that I wanted to be a high school teacher; however, when I got a job tutoring at a local high school, I realized that I did not want to do that at all. Oddly, I’m not worried. I’ve learned through this college process that things work out.

I did not expect to become closer with my parents. Growing up, I admit I was a brat and I couldn’t wait to get away from my parents. Now, I realize that they were right about a lot of things and I respect their wisdom and appreciate them. At the same time, I recognize that I am my own person who is developing her own worldview and my parents also see that. I am very intentional about calling my parents at least once every two weeks. Our relationship is evolving and my mom has even asked my advice about some things.

Finally, I did not expect my faith to be tested as much as it was. I attend a Christian university and I thought I would have no problem holding onto my faith. However, for the first time in my life, I had to seek out a home church on my own. Since my parents weren’t around, I was responsible for making sure I went to church every Sunday. I encountered people who interpreted the Bible differently than I did and caused me to rethink what I believed and why. I saw people worship more freely than my southern Baptist congregation back home did, and I soon grew comfortable to raise my own hands in praise. I went through a season of doubt, but my questions only led me to a strong evidence of God’s existence.

Through all the things I did not expect, God was there with me. He knew it all and He expected everything. Nothing catches Him by surprise. He who knows the past and present has also written the future. You can trust Him and His plans that only lead to good.