High school was all about social ranking; Who was the most popular, the prettiest, the most athletic? Who were the “weird” kids, the nerds, the loners? After four years of being told day after day that this is how the world works, the idea that such standards don’t exist might seem ridiculous to some (and too good to be true for others). But like it or not, it’s a fact that every college-bound young person is going to have to face.
This isn’t to say that the jocks and cheerleaders are going to suddenly find themselves friendless and pitiful (sorry high school underdogs, but this isn’t a retribution story). Most likely, they’ll simply end up hanging out with other people like them- but college is your chance to find people like you too! While cliques do form in dormitory environments, that’s not to say you won’t find YOUR clique, or cliques.
Remember, everyone is new and everyone is looking to meet new people and is worried about being liked. Put on a movie or some music that you like but that was never “cool” in high school, chances are someone will knock on your door to say “I don’t know anyone else who likes that, it’s my favorite!” The things that set students apart when all they saw of each other was in a classroom/cafeteria environment is exactly what sets them apart as unique and interesting individuals in college. You’ll be surprised how what once might have been considered “nerdy” will instead what makes people look at you as a worldly and insightful individual.
Your first year of college is the perfect time for you to let go and really be yourself; it’s also a fantastic opportunity to “try on different hats”, give yourself a chance to try being something you never have been but have always wanted to be! Maybe this means you threw on jeans and a t-shirt every day before running off to school, and this is your chance to try out life as a fashionista. If you were the quiet type who kept to themselves through most of high school, put on a pair of wings and give yourself a chance to be a social butterfly. Maybe one of these personality twerks will stick with you. If not, you’ve let yourself experience something new and have nothing to lose from it. College is one of the few times in life where you get to pick your own labels (if any), so have fun with it!
It won’t take long to see that popularity comes in many shapes and sizes. If you didn’t quite fit in with the “cool kids” in high school, there’s some great news for you: most people didn’t either! Now that letterman jackets or pompoms don’t mean anything, you are in the position to be liked by literally hundreds of other people, simply for being yourself.
Welcome, and congratulations on taking your first step towards “the real world”.