Freshman Expectations vs. Reality: My First Semester at IU

There are so many changes that come with the transition from high school to college. Here are just a few things that turned out to be a little different from what I expected after experiencing my first semester of college life at IU. 

Friends Come Effortlessly

Expectation: After talking to college grads and older family friends I built up an understanding that the relationships I make in college would basically be the ones I would have for the rest of my life. I also figured that since I would constantly be surrounded by people I would instantly become best friends with everyone around me since we would see each other all the time. 

Reality: There are so many different students from all over the world, but in order to get to know any of them it is imperative to make an effort. Sometimes I had to go out of my way in order to invite someone to lunch or strike up a conversation. It could be awkward at first, but once we started talking the conversation came easy. I met so many new and interesting people just from something as simple as "Can I borrow a pencil?"  

Enjoying the downtown Bloomington winter scenery with some friends

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Expectation: Everyone always told me that the dorm food is unhealthy and there are not that many options to choose from. I figured this was true from witnessing kids who went away to school come home with a few extra pounds under their belt.

Reality: It may take a little extra planning, but living a healthy lifestyle on campus is not impossible. The dining halls are great because RPS offers an online nutrition facts about all the food they provide so you can keep track of your calorie intake. Most C-stores offer gluten-free, GMO free and vegan products. I always find myself eating at the dining hall at Collins because they tend to offer healthier side dishes and always have vegan options at every meal.

School Events and Activities

Expectation: In high school I was always one of the first ones to sign up for school related activities and events. The school made it easy to get involved. Coming into a large university it was almost overwhelming how many options there were for involvement. I thought I was bound to stay busy the whole year with so many things to choose from.

Reality: There are so many activities, traditions and events to take part in during four short years at IU. However, unlike high school the perfect club is not going to come to you. Just like making friends, you have to put in an effort to join causes and events that you enjoy or care about. 

Running the Nearly Naked Mile, a Homecoming tradition

A year on campus without IU basketball is a year wasted


Expectation: I saw the typical roommate scenario play out two ways. Roommates are either destined to become best friends or sworn enemies.

Reality: I have learned that roommates can make or break your college experience. Thankfully I have had nothing but positive experiences with my roommate. I came in with a friend from middle school so we knew each other beforehand and had mutual friends, but weren't super close. This worked out great because we hung out with each other often, but weren't pressured to be with each other all the time and could go out and do our own thing without creating tension. 

Move in day with my roommate

Here are a few more freshmen year stories you might enjoy.

About The Author
Emily WildClass of 2017, Student Blogger, Fort Wayne, IN

SPEA major studying Non Profit Management with a minor in Spanish. Member of the IU class of 2017. Diagnosed with wanderlust and can not wait to see what lies outside of Indiana for me to explore. I am writing down my experiences for the use of others, do what you want with them.