Everybody has expectations. We have expectations about how delicious our evening meal will be and high expectations for that new movie. We assume that our family vacation is going to be the best one yet. We expect to look like a supermodel after three weeks of sporadic exercising. (All the while sneaking cookies before bed) We expect to wake up early and be productive and go to sleep earlier than we did the night before. We assume that we won’t be asked about our non-exsistant significant other this year at the family holidays. (Thanks grandpa…) It doesn’t matter what it is, we will have expectations about it. Sometimes our expectations will be met, but usually the reality is much different.
The same can be said about college.
I just want to take a moment and address the extreme differences of expectations and reality of college life.
No young person enters these four “best years of your life” without dreaming about what they think it will be like. Movies, family and alumni leave us with certain expectations for this next milestone in our lives. The question is, how accurate are these assumptions?
Take the first day of school for instance. In my head, it goes a little something like this:
After deciding that my outfit is perfect, topped with a flawless winged eyeliner that only took me one try, I grab my unusually light backpack and open the front door to my dorm. I begin my short walk to class. The first day of college. The first day of the best four years of my life. I will do it right.
I reach my class quickly and without having to ask for directions. I quickly check my face in the reflection in my phone, but who am I kidding? My makeup is perfect today. Taking a deep breath, I step through the open door, my heart beat echoing softly in my ear. I scan the room that I will spend countless hours in the next couple of months. The room holds about fifty students, each with a high-tech laptop or pen and paper sitting on their desk. I began to walk towards the middle with a pretty brunette girl stops me.
“I absolutely love your outfit!” She says, her voice an octave higher than I assume it is naturally. “Your shoes are so cute and your makeup is amazing!” I smile at her.
“Thanks, I love your shirt.” I reply. She smiles back and I sit behind her. I turn and notice an incredible hot boy with brown hair sitting next to me. He takes one look at me and a bright smile spreads across his face, revealing perfect sparkling white teeth.
Okay… Maybe this wasn’t so much my expectation, but my dream. Instead, the first day of class tends to go a little something like this.
“Excuse me, can you tell me where room two-oh-six is?” I ask a tall girl who doesn’t seem to be in a hurry.
“Down this hall and take a right. It should be down there.” She says with a smile, pointing in the direction I just came from. I thank her and walk in the direction she indicated. Finally, I locate the door with “206” written on the frame. Holding the straps to my backpack, I take a deep breath and walk in. I hold back subtle shakes, signifying that I am more nervous than I’ve been telling myself. I look around the dead silent class room. It’s about a third full and no one is talking. I walk down the side and choose a seat towards the back.
The first day of class’s expectations are a little… outrageous, but aren’t most of them? What happens after you’ve picked your seat? What do you expect the teacher to say?
“So class, I know you all came thinking this would be your most difficult class of the semester. Well I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to worry. It won’t be too difficult. We will only have one test towards the end that we will review for often. Oh, and we won’t be having classes on Friday.”
“Hello class, welcome to the hardest class you will ever experience in your college career. Be prepared to be bored out of your mind while also struggling to keep a passing grade. Let’s begin!”
Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but it might as well be. We spend hours studying anyways. Studying. What were our expectations in that area?
I sit with my four best friends, laughing. An open textbook sits in front of me, sprinkled with highlights. A warm cappuccino rests in my hand and I listen as my best friend begins another story.
When in reality…
I sit in the far corner of the library, surrounded by books covered in highlights. Two empty espressos lay next to me. My unwashed hair is slowly coming out of the messy bun I had thrown it into.
How about Social life.
“I’m going over to my friends house with a bunch of other people! We are going to bake and watch movies. Bring someone if you want! It will probably turn into a dance party.”
“Lets see if we can figure out who Ted’s wife is yet.”
Everyone has expectations about everything. People’s may be different, but so will their experiences. For example, while one girl will probably be at “the best party ever” tonight, I plan on getting pizza with my friends and watching One Direction “This is Us” and I am excited. I have high expectations for that movie. The question is, will they be met?