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Photo credit: JHU Libraries

Freshman year is supposed to be a time of discovery. You hear so much about what it’s like being a college student, but the truth is, not everyone has the same first-year experience. I think it’s safe to say that there were some things that I  didn’t quite get right about the college transition:

1. Your dorm room might not end up being as perfect as a Target ad

Photo of two dorm rooms

Left photo credit: Havenly via Pinterest

I know a bunch of people who truly do have aesthetic, organized dorm rooms, but for some of us, we do just fine with a humble place to sleep. Anyone know how to self-nominate for Queer Eye to get Bobby to fix up their room? Just asking for a friend 😅

TIP: If you do end up decorating your room, be sure you follow housing policies outlining what you can and can’t have in your room.

2. That 9 am class might not be as easy to wake up for as you think

Photo of phone alarms

You might have gotten used to waking up at 6 in high school, but something about college makes 9 am feel like 5 am. I’m not saying it’s not doable, but for me it was … a bit of a challenge 👀

TIP: If you start getting used to your multiple alarms and end up not hearing them, try switching up the alarm tone once in a while.

3. You might not end up going to the Rec Center every day like you planned

Photo of rec center and shrimp

Left photo credit: JHU Rec via Facebook. Right photo credit: Hopkins Dining via Facebook.

Some people really do have the motivation and time management to fit in a solid workout every day. I ended up being able to fit in a trip to the Rec Center two or three times per week, but sometimes instead of leg day, it’s wing day at the FFC. And when it’s Sterling Brunch (pictured above), seafood kinda takes precedence.

TIP: If you’re adamant about keeping up with your fitness routine, add your workout sessions to your calendar or find a ~workout buddy~ who will force you to go to the Rec 🏋️‍♀️🏋️

4. Saying no to coffee is actually kinda hard

Photo of lemonade and levering cafe

Left and right photo credit: Hopkins Dining via Facebook

In high school, getting little sleep plus working as a barista meant lots of coffee. For some reason, I thought I’d be able to finally say goodbye to caffeine for my health, but I think the free coffee at the FFC and my extra dining dollars gave me a little bit too much power.

TIP: Levering Cafe takes dining dollars, and their pastries are SO good with their cold brew 😍

5. Staying focused on your work isn’t always that easy

Image of brody and netflix

Left image credit: JHU Libraries

So I may have succumbed to Netflix or scrolling down my IG feed a few times at Brody. Or more than a few times.

TIP: What worked best for me was putting my phone deep within the depths of my backpack to prevent the urge to check social media.

6. There’s more to school than just studying

Photo of reading assignment and lion dance

It’s easy to think that at a school like Hopkins, one must focus on academics all the time. However, with over 400 student organizations, it’s easy to discover new things to get involved in. I believe that getting involved is one of the most important things to do freshman year, as it’ll give you an opportunity to break out of your shell and meet new people! ✨

TIP: Be sure to check out the Fall Student Involvement fair to see what you can get involved in!

Your freshman year might not turn out exactly how you imagined it to–or maybe it will!–but either way, don’t let surprises ruin your experience. In my opinion, having these little expectation vs. reality moments are what make any new experience beautiful.