Speaking from my own experiences as a student and now as an academic advisor to first year students, these are the myths I wish I had known were false when I started college.
1) Everyone knows what they’re doing
So let me be the first, but certainly not the last, to tell you that you’ll never have it 100 percent figured out, regardless of how many degrees you earn!
Speaking as an adult now who has graduated with their master’s and has a full time job, I still don’t know what I am doing half the time. And I now know better than to put pressure on myself to have it all figured out. Most, if not all, of my students lament the fact that they’re not sure about their chosen major and swear to me that their friends truly have it all figured out. They swear up and down that they are the only ones who don’t know how to study, or how to ask for help or how to manage their time. So let me be the first, but certainly not the last, to tell you that you’ll never have it 100 percent figured out, regardless of how many degrees you earn! As long as you’re always open to learning and growing, to making mistakes and to seeking out feedback, you’ll be on your way to success (whatever success means to you!).
2) You have to be stressed in order to be successful
Seriously, conversations often revolved on who got the least amount of sleep in order to study. No thanks!
Yes, some stress can be a good thing. It can kick your butt into gear and motivate you to get sh*t done! But a sense of constant “overwhelmedness” can be bad for your health, both physical and mental. I went to a college known for its high achieving, high stress students and I had to make the conscious choice not to buy into the stress culture in which students were competing over how stressed they were. Seriously, conversations often revolved on who got the least amount of sleep in order to study. No thanks! Ya girl needs her sleep. It’s okay to take breaks – necessary even.
3) Everyone has adequate support
Because assuming that everyone but you has the necessary support can prevent you from seeking out the help that you need out of fear of burdening others.
By that I mean, emotional support usually provided by family or peers. This, unfortunately, is not the case for everyone. Too often I meet with students who lack familial support. The causes vary, from strained relationships to tragic losses. Sometimes it’s as simple as living too far away because a student went to college out of state. Regardless of the reason, support is crucial to have as a student, especially during the first semester when everything and everyone is new. Why am I bringing this up? Because assuming that everyone but you has the necessary support can prevent you from seeking out the help that you need out of fear of burdening others. On the flipside, if you do have support and assume everyone else does as well, you may miss signs that a friend or peer is crying out for help. College is a great place to find lifelong friends and build meaningful connections. Don’t miss out!
By now, you’ve probably noticed that all of these myths have something in common: false assumptions and comparing yourself to others. Knowing that these two factors are at the root, you can combat all of these myths by never assuming you know what others are or aren’t going through and by not comparing yourself to others. You have your own path in life and it will look different from that of your peers – and guess what! That’s okay.
Did you believe some of these myths were facts before reading this post? Or do you know of any other myths about college? Share your thoughts in the comments below.