Living on your own

Five differences between high school and college

You finally did it. You’ve approached your first big milestone in life upon graduating high school. Chances are you’re feeling excited, free and even a little scared or lost.

Regardless of your feelings, you’re about to experience a major transition from high school to college this fall.

Believe it or not, adjusting to these changes may take some getting used to.

  1. Freedom

In high school, you had little say in anything between your teachers and your parents. In college, it’s a whole new ballgame.

“I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself here,” music industry management freshman Mariah Bouwkamp said.

Not only do you get to choose what you study in college, but you can also pick your classes and create a schedule catered to you.

You can take early classes and finish by 1 p.m. or you can choose not to wake up until 11 a.m. Some professors don’t even have an attendance policy.

“All the newfound freedom can be a temptation to not be responsible and to slack off on schoolwork,” plastics and polymer engineering technologies freshman Chris Buse said.

You can stay out as late as you want, go wherever you want and hang out with who you want. Your time is spent the way you want to spend it, but always remember why you’re at college.

  1. Responsibility

Of course, with freedom comes great responsibility.

You’re probably used to your parents, teachers and other school officials constantly checking up on you to make sure you’re getting things done and doing exactly what you’re supposed to.

Well, now you are in charge of getting your work done. College professors won’t worry about you.

Buse found the vast personal responsibility was the most difficult part of his transition.

“As a college student, no one reminds you to go to class and to do the homework,” Buse said. “You have to be responsible enough to do it yourself.”

It’s your responsibility to fulfill the necessary requirements to passing your classes and getting your degree. You’ll soon discover motivation and time management are your new best friends.

  1. Living on Campus

Living in dorms is one of the most memorable experiences college will give you. What is a better recipe for disaster (I mean excitement!) than a bunch of 17 to 24-year-olds living in one building?

Dorm living is fun, crazy, crowded and will probably smell at some point in the year. Between your RA, roommate and hall-mates, you will likely make new friends and memories here.

Unfortunately, college doesn’t grant you the luxury of all your classes being in one nice, warm, sheltered building.

You may already know that Michigan has some strange, unpredictable weather. Ferris is also one of the snowiest universities in the state. Be prepared to brave the elements as you trek around campus. We don’t see snow days.

  1. Work Load

You may have breezed through high school, but if you’re expecting to use the same strategies in college, I can promise you are in for a rude awakening.

High school is now child’s play. In college, assigned reading doesn’t mean you get a break from homework. You actually have to read the chapters (yes, more than one chapter, too!).

Professors don’t care if you don’t do the homework. If you don’t keep up with the syllabus and professor’s instructions, you’ll be left in the dust. As a college student, you must hold yourself accountable for your success. Hold on to that syllabus like it’s your iPhone.

“The most difficult part [of my transition] was learning how to manage time myself and not have strict rules and guidelines from both high school and my parents,” Bouwkamp said.

A three-credit class means three hours of studying that subject outside of class per week. Finals week is an entirely different horror story.

  1. Parties

Time to put on your grown-up pants. Parties won’t be just a few of your friends out in the woods with a 6-pack anymore.

College parties are definitely more large-scale and more frequent than the ones you went to in high school. In fact, it’s more likely you won’t know everyone there.

As you venture out for your first college party, be sure to utilize the buddy system.

“My advice [to freshmen] would be not to relate college to what you see in movies,” Bouwkamp said. “College is how you make it and it can be fun if you do it right.”