Monday, May 5, 2008

College Freshmen Experience the Reality of Their Imagined “Paradise”

I had lunch today with a friend who caught me up on how various college freshmen we both know are doing in their first year in college.

As I listened to the reports, I started thinking that perhaps part of the problem with college freshmen is that their expectations are too high. They are so happy to have left behind high school -- and in many cases, their families and hometowns, that they expect a kind of paradise.

Unfortunately this paradise often comes with such “hardships” as doing your own laundry for the first time, having to set your own alarm clock because Mom doesn’t wake you up, and dealing with a filthy bathroom if you have a messy roommate or suitemates.

Even the college freshmen who aren’t homesick often find that their imagined paradise is simply a different island. And this new island has a new set of rules and a new set of “pleasures” and “tortures.”

The moral of this post? If you don’t have unrealistic expectations of college life and that freedom of which you’ve been dreaming, you’ll be less likely to feel disappointed in your freshmen year.

As colleges start to let out this week for the summer, college freshmen would do well to keep in mind that college is what you make of it. If you want to look back at four years of wild parties and very little classroom effort, that’s your decision. On the other hand, if you’re interested in finding your own path, consider how you can maximize these four transitional years into the adult world.

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