Five differences between high school and college

Danny Cozzi

When I came to NIU as a freshman in fall of 2010, I really wasn’t sure of what to expect from a college experience. Hell, I don’t think anyone ever has an idea. Looking back on the antics I got into paired appropriately with the hard work I’ve done, I was able to come up with the five biggest differences between college and high school.

1. Procrastination

Yes, everyone knows most everyone else procrastinates in both high school and college. However, there are different kinds of procrastination.

In high school, I could wait until midnight on the night before a due date of an important essay and crank it out in no time. But in college, my God, I can’t even imagine procrastinating that long. I used to be so much better at putting things off until the last possible minute. Maybe it’s because I have to actually try now. Who knows?

2. Going Out on School Nights

In high school, going out on school nights was the coolest thing ever: the rush of independence and giving the internal finger to your old bedtime rule from grade school and junior high.

The thought of going out to Molly’s on a school night now just gives me a pre-hangover. I need far more sleep than a drunken catnap before a 9:30 a.m. linguistics class.

3. Sleeping

When I was in high school, I was without a doubt an undiagnosed insomniac.

My bedtime was generally between 1 to 3 a.m. just because. But now? Good luck getting me out of bed on less than six hours of sleep. I just can’t do it anymore. Sleep has become more valuable to me than gold. If I have to be up early, I at least try to lie down before 2 o’clock in the morning. Then again, the plus side to college is 2 p.m. classes. I guess it evens out.

4. Study Habits

Who has two thumbs and didn’t study in high school? This guy. And maybe you, too, if we’re being totally honest, unless you don’t have two thumbs. At least, you definitely didn’t study as much as you do now.

Rachel McBride, junior nutrition and dietetics major, agreed she spends more time on schoolwork as a college student.

“I study more now because my professors push us to know of lot of information,” McBride said. “Not only memorization, but how it works and relates to everything.”

Maybe it’s the better teachers, a better understanding of who we are, or just knowing that we spend thousands of dollars every year and can’t screw that up. Seriously.

5. Actual Independence

Okay, so it’s not real-world independence, because many of us don’t have to worry about not being financially supported. But, we don’t have our parents around constantly asking how school is going anymore or checking to make sure we’re not out late on a school night. Ultimately, every decision we make in college is a completely autonomous choice. We are the only ones accountable now for almost everything we do.