For those of us who haven’t actually experienced college, it often seems like it’s just going to be a bigger and more difficult version of high school—basically the same. Those who do go to college or have been, know that the two are poles apart. There are actually very few similarities between high school and college, and you’ll have entirely different lives in both places.
Broadly speaking, there’s a lot more discipline involved when you’re in secondary and high school. That’s where you get your start on learning to be a human that has to exist with other humans. In college, however, is where you’re expected to really be a human, and this is where you get to apply all those things you learned in school. This is where you get to be a real adult.
When you’re in school, you’re expected to live by the school’s schedule and internalize the curriculum and the rules. When you’re in high school, you’ve got rebellion on the brain and it’s fun to do all the things you’re not supposed to. When you get to college, you won’t be expected to abide by anyone else’s rules (except for the legal ones, obviously), and you won’t have teachers and parents looking over your shoulder all the time to make sure you’re doing everything you should. Speaking of which, there’s nobody in college that’s going to make sure you do your homework and are prepared for class. It’s your decision whether you’ll go to class or not, and you’ll make that decision knowing that whether or not you fail at the end of the semester is all on you. The great bit is that as a college student, you get to decide what you study, so it shouldn’t take all that much to make you want to go to class and do your work.
You’re going to meet all sorts of new people once you get to college, from all over the country and all over the world. Plus, most colleges have study abroad programs and it’s always a great idea to take advantage of that. College campuses are meant to be hotbeds of diversity and multiculturalism and will expand your horizons in a way high school never did.
College courses don’t have the same grading rubrics that high schools do. Many colleges don’t even have letter grades, many of them let teachers devise their own grading systems. There’s nothing standardized about what you learn in college because you’re taught under the assumption that you already satisfy the basic requirements that standardized tests and general examinations are designed to test. College is for the real work of your life. Of course, this means that there’s a lot more riding on every class, and it’s a much more complicated matter. Needless to say, it’ll be much more challenging, but it’ll also be so much more fun.