An Ode to College Expectations

Story by Grace Dooley

Ah, college. Most of us here were brought up on rose-colored text-book style images of college life. It’s always Fall, it never rains, and people actually study under trees. The buildings are all pointed upwards at their arches and huddled beneath a thick layer of ivy– the only time that negligent gardening signifies prestige.  For some, parties and fun are expected every night. For others, it’s a chance to get away from home and discover your own identity or whatever it was they did in The Breakfast Club. 

If you haven’t already guessed by Gainesville’s disobedience of the college weather-code, my first semester of college hasn’t been what I expected. But a failure to meet expectations isn’t a failure by standard definition.  If nothing else, college has taught me to expect the unexpected, clichés and all.

Roommates. The way I saw it, this situation could go one of two ways. Either you’re outright enemies with your roommate, or you’re best friends.  Considering I’m an only child with poor organizational skills and the tendency to blare music at infrequent intervals, I, frankly, expected the former. I was wrong.  I’m sure I get on her nerves more than she’s willing to admit, but my roommate has become my closest friend on campus. 

High school acquaintances. Yes, I realize that I only moved a little over three hours north of my hometown, but where I come from the resident population is roughly one-third the size of the student population of the University of Florida. Every adult I knew reassured me I’d be setting out on my own. UF is such a big school you’ll have to try to see people you know!  Yet, without fail, I’ve run into at leastone of my high school classmates every single day I’ve been at UF.  Every. Single. Day. But the longer I’m away from home, the more I appreciate the familiar hellos in a sea of nameless faces. 

Academics. We’ve all taken AP or IB classes and, sure, they can be intense. But most kids, especially in the honors program, were most likely able to rake-in the A’s and impressive standardized test scores by simply paying attention in class and occasionally studying. Turns out, studying is important in college – a realization which has hit many of us like a pane glass door in a Windex commercial. Luckily, once the realization hits, it’s all just a matter of managing your time, and no one has ever had a problem with thatbefore. 

Architecture. Well, what can I say? You get used to the bricks. They’ve really grown on me. 

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