You already know what not to pack, the biggest misconceptions about your future roommate and the best parts about being a freshman, but what's freshman year really like? For those of you who are incoming froshies getting reading for your first year of college, here are 10 things no one tells you.
1. You might not find "your people" right away.
Like any relationship, friendships take work -- and time. Finding your "group" won't happen overnight, and that's completely normal. You'll make new friends in a natural way and you never know when you'll form an unlikely friendship, whether it's you and a classmate bonding over that smells-like-mothballs professor or when you're standing in line for the bathroom at a house party.
2. Your intro classes might be a snore.
Oftentimes, those "101" classes can give you a major case of deja vu. You might find yourself asking, "Didn't I learn this stuff in high school already?" While this might be true, that doesn't mean you should necessarily take this as a free pass to skip out on class. Instead, look on the bright side: Studying for exams just became way easier.
3. You're not "anti-social" just because you're not part of Greek life.
Being part of your school's Greek life can be awesome, but that doesn't make you "anti-social" if joining a sorority or frat isn't your thing. There are plenty of ways to meet people (see No. 9) and have fun that don't require pledging.
4. The "freshman 15" is a myth.
Not only is there no such thing as the "freshman 15", but it's actually a really unhealthy, destructive idea, at its core. Of course your eating habits will change when you get to college -- that's what happens when you live in a completely different environment -- and there is no reason to feel fear (or shame) about it. So, throw out your scale and do your best to focus on feeling healthy and celebrating your body at any size.
5. You don't HAVE to declare your major.
Contrary to popular belief, most schools don't require you to pick a major freshman year, so you don't need to stress if you don't know what you want to study for the next four years. Take advantage of your gen-ed courses and don't be afraid to dive into subject areas that interest you. Now is the time to explore different classes and figure out what you're passionate about learning.
6. It might take more than a week to get over homesickness -- and that's OK.
Whether you're going to college an hour from home or across the country, it's totally normal to get those pangs of homesickness. From your mom's homemade mac 'n cheese to snuggling with the family dog, sometimes it's the little things that you miss the most. It also might take you more than a few days to adjust to your new environment and feel at ease. Everyone is different, so don't feel like there's something "wrong" with you if you're finding it hard to shake those feelings. Instead, focus on keeping yourself busy, and remember that mom and dad are just a Skype date away.
7. You don't have to "dress up" for class, going out... or anything, really.
Despite what "Gossip Girl' might have told us, you shouldn't feel pressure to wear stilettos to your 8 a.m class. In college, there is no official "dress code" and chances are, most of your classmates will be wearing sweats and sneakers. Even on the weekends, it's perfectly acceptable to wear comfy clothes when going out -- especially when it's the winter and freezing temperatures. Wear what makes you feel the most comfortable, always.
8. You're not weird if you choose not to drink.
Depending on what college you go to, you might feel some pressure to drink (especially during frosh week), but that doesn't mean you will be considered "not fun" if you choose not to. Choosing to drink is a personal decision. You might be surprised to find how many college students don't drink. For as many parties as there are on a Friday night, there are just as many non-alcohol related activities, like on-campus movies, karaoke or even just hanging out in your dorm room with friends. Check out your school's website to get an idea of what's available.
9. It's possible to make friends with people outside of your dorm.
Sure, you'll be spending a lot of time in your dorm, but it's cool if you don't necessarily become BFFs with everyone living on your floor. While it's great to get to know the people you're sharing living quarters with, the best way to meet people in college is by branching out. Invite that girl who sits next to you in biology lab to eat lunch with you, join the student newspaper or try an intramural sport. There are dozens of different way to make friends in college, so don't limit yourself.
10. Your RA doesn't have to be your enemy.
Your RA, or resident assistant, isn't completely out to get you -- promise! Despite what you may see in the movies, RAs do more than just knocking on doors and busting 1 a.m. parties. RAs are there to help you and can actually be a great resource, whether it's helping to resolve roommate issues or picking their brains for advice on which courses to take.