For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Sep 10 2016
by H'Abigail Mlo

5 Things You Experience When Transitioning From a Small High School to a Huge College

By H'Abigail Mlo - Sep 10 2016
As someone who went to a high school of only 200 students, attempting to fit into the mold of my college of over 18,000 undergraduate students has proven to be a much greater challenge than I'd anticipated. I was so used to seeing the same dozen or so faces in a cramped building everyday for four years that being surrounded by complete strangers on a seemingly endless campus is totally foreign. Here are five things someone coming from a small high school might experience.

1. Getting Lost


As first years, not being able to locate your classes, the dining hall or the closest Starbucks during the first few days of class is inevitable. However, you've been here at least a month and still you find yourself having to use Google Maps as not only a tool for navigation, but also a savior. Where would you be without it? (Lost, obviously.)

2. Struggling to Make Friends 


Making friends is not as simple as it was once in the good ol' days. In high school, you ate lunch with your friends. If you were lucky, you shared a class or two with them. Heck, you even participated in the same extracurriculars. Frankly, in college everyone is busy. Between classes, extracurriculars and, in some cases, jobs, a social life is the last of your priorities.

3. Nervously Enrolling in Lectures 


Let's be honest, you hesitated to enroll in lectures with a class size of over a hundred students. The largest class size you had in high school was barely twenty students. You were able to connect with your classmates and teacher with ease. On the flip side, connecting with your professor, let alone your hundreds of classmates, is impossible. 

4. Discovering the Diversity in Extracurriculars


What does an acapella group, ukulele ensemble and Asian students association all have in common? Your small high school probably didn't offer these extracurriculars. Luckily, a majority of colleges do. The only down side, of course, is that there's no way you can join all the clubs and organizations you want. That is, if you aren't willing to sacrifice your GPA in the name of extracurrics.

5. Realizing You're Not Alone

The thing about huge colleges is you're never alone. Literally and figuratively. There's such an immense and diverse student population, you're bound to find at least one person to relate to. Believe it or not, you're not the only person coming from a small high school.

Lead Image Credit: Tim Ipri via Flickr Creative Commons

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H'Abigail Mlo - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

H'Abigail is a first-year at UNC Chapel Hill and currently an undecided major. Her interests include all things literature, Marvel and long bike rides. Fun fact: the "H" in her name is silent. Follow her on IG @abiy0nce.

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