Parties that never end, bro.
Chicks all over the place, bro.
Yes, those were just two of the lies I heard about college before I actually went away to school. And, while I still had a blast and made a lot of great friends, my college experience wasn’t exactly like Animal House.
You live and you learn, I guess…
What are the biggest lies about college you’ve heard?
Here’s how AskReddit users responded.
1. The workload.
“When I was in 11th-12th grade, I had a handful of teachers assigning unreasonably huge workloads of homework that were clearly valueless busywork. Their justification was that they were preparing us for the rigors of college. And if we found this workload unmanageable, we were doomed to flunk out of college.
My first two years of college were significantly less rigorous than my last two years of high school. Those teachers should have been pushing personal accountability and self discipline, not just stressing us out in the hopes that we develop appropriate coping mechanisms.”
2. Most are helpful.
“That the professors don’t help you.
This isn’t universal, I had my share of profs that were sink or swim, but I found a majority were willing to go above and beyond for you if you put the effort in.
If you’re at a research university, some of your professors have made their life’s work out of your class. If you show the interest in their work the same way they have, and show jt by sitting in the front and asking relevant questions, or greeting them with a hello and thank you before and after class, when you go to their office for help, or copies of the slides because you missed class (because you sit in front they missed your face) they will give you a hand.
I had a professor who taught municipal politics (Canada) and the course was largely about separation of powers (federal, provincial, municipal), responsibilities. The guy was a super nerd about it, and as it turns out I was too.
Really enjoyed the class, always sat in front, and when my girlfriends mom passed away when a major paper was due, gave me all the time in the world to finish it. Someone passed away that was really no relation to me, and I basically handed the paper in after finals were over, 3 weeks late. No problem.”
“A high school teacher told us that: “The summer before college is the last long vacation you’ll have.”
The (many) years of college were actually the longest vacation I’ve had.”
4. Not all fun and games.
“S** and drinking all the time.
All I remember is paper deadlines.”
5. This is great.
“When I was in 7th grade, my cousins told me that colleges could look at your search history and I believed them.
I went through my search history, deleted it, and purposely searched stuff like “how to solve quadratics” or “what does i represent” so I could sound smart/hardworking to colleges.”
“Many people told me that living in a student hostel is better than to rent a room or flat because it’s all fun and stuff but I experienced both and for me a separate room all to myself was infinitely better.”
“That the friends you make in college will be the best ones of your life.
Didn’t happen to me. My closest friends are a few guys I met way back when I was in elementary school and they are like brothers to me.
No one could be a better friend to me than those guys. I made some friends in college but they were just drinking buddies and I lost touch with most of them.”
8. No way that’s true.
“That “smart and mature people go to college”.
No matter what college I attended, or what campus I visited and regardless of their Alma mater, there are a fair amount of fools on any campus and from any school, and an expected number of people still experiencing the growing pains of adulthood.
This isn’t to say they shouldn’t be proud of their academic accomplishments or happy about their career prospects. Rather, it is simply that they are by all means deficient in areas I think one ought to not be deficient in. Maturity, insightfulness, self-awareness, et cetera.”
9. Mostly false.
“Oh there’s a bunch that I heard across all 3 colleges I went to:
-All the dining hall food had laxatives in it so you’ll s**t it out before you get food poisoning
-If the professor is more than 15 minutes late everyone can leave without getting in trouble
-If your roommate d**s you get an automatic ‘A’ every class
-Every elevator and crosswalk has a secret code you can punch in to make it go faster
-Every building is haunted
Most of that is totally false.”
10. Not true.
“That it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to study right away and you can switch your major at anytime. While parts of this are true, college is expensive. I switched my major after my second year and had to take a fifth year to finish my degree.
It’s cheaper to take classes at a community college if you are unsure of what you want to study and then transition into university once you’ve decided. Don’t pay thousands of dollars to find yourself.”
11. I have to learn cursive?
“The two that stand out are professors would only accept papers written in cursive, and the only path to college is doing well in high school.
The former isn’t true because of these things called “computers” and the latter isn’t true because of this thing called “community college.””
12. An oldie.
“My dad spent my entire senior high school year and my entire time in college telling me the same thing over and over. If you have a college degree, any job will hire you.
Doesn’t matter what kind of degree it is or what kind of job it is. They’ll just hire you because you have a college degree. I don’t think I really believed it, but I was too busy to question it anyway.
The best part? When I got out of college and had trouble getting a job that didn’t involve a cash register and customer service, he kept repeating it and claimed I just wasn’t trying hard enough.”
13. You’re really in for it!
“That the professors are going to be worse than the teachers at high school. I’ve already finished my first year of college and the professors have been extremely helpful, even more helpful that my high school teachers.
I’ve always h**ed writing essays in English, but my college professor has helped me a lot and gave me lots of helpful tips. When I turned in my first essay, he was amazed at it because I followed all of his instructions.
I don’t know why high school teachers implement fear to their students of how hard college is, instead I would have like it better if they actually teaches us the subject instead of hearing their past life and how they ended up as a teacher.”
“If your roommate d**s you get an automatic ‘A’ every class.
No. It has to be an official s**cide A note, an autopsy, the whole nine yards. They’re really strict about it.
15. You have to!
“”You have to go to college so you can get a good job.”
Well, what is a “good job?” What if I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life? I don’t particularly love my current job (that has nothing to do with my degree, btw), but you know what? I still have one.
I can support myself and live fairly comfortably. All my degree did was put me in debt.”
16. A bunch of stuff.
“Current college student here. The biggest lie I’ve heard is probably one of the following:
• “You’re at an elite school, everyone is going to be brilliant”
Absolutely not true by any stretch of the imagination. There was a guy who drunkenly drove his motorcycle into a tree because he thought it would be funny…
• “It’s a massive place, there’s no one culture that defines it”
While ofc there will be things for people with different interests, as there are 8,000 students there, the university’s general culture-related stereotypes fit remarkably well.
• “It’s not like high school, there are no “popular kids.”
At least at my school, “top tier” fraternities and sororities effectively function as the “popular group.”
• “It’s going to be an intellectually-driven experience”
If I had a dollar for every kid who was taking honors multi/lin alg “because it looks good for BB recruiting,” I’d have the funds to pay for a plane ticket to Hong Kong. People are very pre-professional, perhaps for a reason.
• “You came from a well-resourced district, you’ll be ahead”
Not at all true. College has been enormously humbling in this way. There are students who come in with a weak foundation and soak it up like a sponge.
And most famously:
• “College will be the best four years of your life”
For some people it will, but for most people it won’t.”
“There’s no cliques, everyone will be broke and struggling just like you.
You won’t have to deal with rich kids anymore.”
“The expensive colleges are better.
I have degrees from state schools and Ivy League schools.
school was flat out better. And cheaper.
You can get just as good a degree, maybe better, from a reasonably priced school and not go thousands into debt.”
19. Oh, boy…
“Follow your dreams!
Major in anything that speaks to you!
The money will take care of itself when you graduate!”
20. The biggest lie.
“The biggest lie…
“You are paying for an education.”
This is wrong. You’re not paying for an education. If you happen to receive an education it is because you sought it out on your own. What you are actually paying for is a certification. This University is certifying that you presumably know enough s**t to do the career path you are intending to follow.
In my case that happens to be teaching high school English class. However, very little of what I learned were things I didn’t already know or that were directly applicable to my profession.
I find that to be true of all degrees. If you want to truly learn and grow then that is something that you as an individual must choose to do. Hell, most people who invest only the bare minimum will graduate with a degree but not all of them will be educated.”
21. Gettin’ freaky!
“That it would be harder than high school and the teachers wouldn’t put up with bulls**t and would expect professionalism.
One of my professors literally told us about his experiences with LSD in the 1980s and said everyone should try weed at least once.”
“Growing up in the South, “It’s nothin’ but libtards and their safe spaces!”
Literally nobody cares what you politically/religiously/whatever identify as.
On a campus with thousands of people, there’s too many different things going on to care.”
23. What’s your plan?
“That you need to have a plan. College is dope. College is hard. College is stressful and makes you cry weekly.
You think you have a plan until a mean Russian professor tells you he’ll fail you in calculus if you don’t drop out. Panic and change major. Change major again even though you’ll graduate a semester late. Join a business fraternity b/c it’ll look good on a resume.
Run for exec board of the frat because someone told you to? Get exec board position and panic. Work on professional designations during classes. Go present at high schools for your frat. Work 25 hrs a week so you can afford the commute and thank everything for your scholarships. Apply for more scholarships.
Do summer internships. Take an extra semester to graduate in May and avoid the job gap that can happen to December graduates. More designations b/c who cares when the college is paying for it. Graduate a year late, having made awesome friends, with designations and experience under your belt, and celebrate because you deserve it!”
24. Not all fun.
“That it’s a blindingly fun, entirely necessary, four-year period of your life that you will always remember fondly.
For one thing, people who aren’t taking out loans, getting scholarships, or getting money from their family, have to work while they’re in school. During the weekends I spent zero time at parties or football games and all of my time waiting tables, bartending, and occasionally working on assignments so that I wouldn’t have to complete them during the week.
Between classes and the homework/studying connected to them, and a part time job, most students I knew were working about fifty to sixty hours a week to hold it all together, and some couldn’t even do that with all their effort.
In terms of it being necessary, I think the people most likely to support trade schools, community colleges, or just working for a living after high school, will be people who go through the current American University system.
Everyone feels like they’re shelling out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for a sheet of paper, and that their development as people isn’t really a priority anymore. That idea is backed up by the fact that most people with a degree don’t get the job they wanted/planned on, if they can get a job related to their degree at all.
On a personal anecdote, I also don’t know anyone that was only at college for four years. It took me five because administrative errors put me into the wrong classes, and I had to make up for lost time. Others were High Schoolers that went straight into college, then realized they had no idea what they wanted to do a couple years in and changed their major. Even more were people who got an incompetent professor, or were generally screwed over by the system in a way that forced them to extend the time they spent on their education (the so-called prime of their life).
All in all, the time my classmates and I spent in college was a work-intense period where we were trapped in a system bloated with bureaucratic overrun, which was designed to extract as much wealth from us as possible, and which could easily be replaced by a more pragmatic approach to post-secondary education.
If we spent less time rooting for college sports teams (an anomaly in the American system) and more time asking why schools’ administrative costs have skyrocketed, and the perceived quality of their products have gone down, we would probably not be happy to see what we’ve been sending our kids into.”
What lies were you told about college?
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