(Originally posted on my blog)

Regardless of your age, major, position in life or gender, there are just certain things about college you were not prepared for. Here are only five.

  1. Getting As is completely overrated. Sure, your first semester might have boasted all the stellar qualities of the ideal academically minded A+ student with a bright and promising future, but by the time your second semester came, your desk was covered in half-eaten granola bars, a sandbox of eraser shavings, and the dried tears of exhaustion and hopelessness. Now, as you speed-walk to class clutching a lukewarm cup of coffee with your backpack strap falling off your shoulder and the sun (which seems too bright at 8am) beating down on your bed head, you are resigned to the fact that your fate is to at least pass (even though you studied frantically for the past 24 hours).
  2. Sleep becomes significantly more valuable. Speaking of bed head, you probably only get about 4 hours of sleep around finals. The rest of the year, you have your life together if you can scrape together 6 (this of course implies canceled attempts at having a social life). But thank the homework gods for on-campus Starbucks and quiet libraries with isolated bean bag seating. Whoever makes that decision is the real MVP.
  3. You mostly just learn how to adapt. I know a woman in my class who told me "I'm not learning anything in my math class. All I've learned is how to manipulate the computer program to get an answer it wants." You live your life in a constant state of tangled mangled brain mess, until you figure out exactly what your instructor wants and how, and then the rest of your time is taken up by deciding which homework assignments to ignore and which ones they'll actually grade (inevitably, you're wrong on that at least once in the year and that's when you pick up a stress-relief method because if you don't, you're scared you'll get an ulcer). Meanwhile,
  4. ...You might as well like what you're learning. Because cellular respiration and the depths of classical literature can be a sure-fire way to get in that much needed nap if you aren't interested in any of it.
  5. Laughter and adventure become therapeutic. Whereas doing something fun and brainless instead of homework in high school made you feel like a schmuck, ditching that extra credit assignment to take a hike or go swimming is sometimes healthy in college. When you start to feel like a clinically insane person for laughing hysterically at a fork (looking at you, Tiffany), it's time to get some fresh air.

And when you sit and fully think about it, you actually love this crazy, depressing, random, stressful, fulfilling and fun time in your life. Also you're probably not ready to handle life beyond college. So you make the most of it. You buddy up to study, you proudly support the coffee industry, and you're proud of your part-time job in the service industry, knowing that you might never have this time in your life back. And when you get through it, and the really hard stuff (like, the rest of your life) starts, you can look back on your college days and say,

"Man, I wish I changed my major."

Christina