5 Common College Misconceptions
Before I came to Fort Hays State University, my only experience with college was through movies and television. Needless to say, they weren’t reliable sources. Despite what’s shown on the big screen, college isn’t one big rave. It also isn’t endless exams.
My first semester was a mess of relief, delights, and disappointments, which I might have avoided had I known the truth behind these common college misconceptions. I’ve put together this list, based on my own college experience, so that you can go into college confidently and better prepared.
#1: Fort Hays is a “Party College.”
“Toga! Toga! Toga!” A party college is a university with a bad reputation for reckless behavior and drinking. Never-ending parties and a lack of supervision are the epitomes of the college experience in the movies, but in real life, this doesn’t fly.
Most students are here for an education, and we would hate to see our college tuition go down the drain. While you’ll hear tales of epic celebrations and wild nights on campus, they’re more of a conversation piece than a part of college life. You’re not missing out if you’d rather stay in the residence hall and watch Netflix with a couple of friends. You’ll find most of your time in college is occupied with studying and classes. By the time you’re done with schoolwork, you’ll feel more like hitting the hay than hitting the clubs.
Despite what people will tell you, these likely won’t be the most exciting years of your life. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to live it up and go crazy after college. Focus on getting your degree, then throw an insane graduation party!
If you want to join the action on campus, Fort Hays hosts plenty of events and activities that don’t involve beer-chugging and troublemaking. Try joining a club or organization and attend the back to school picnic!
#2: You Need to be Rich.
Not everyone can pay for college out of pocket. That being said, college isn’t just for rich kids. There are dozens of options for students. These include loans, grants, and scholarships.
If you haven’t already, start searching for scholarships! You can have a piece of your education paid for by simply filling out a few forms. They are rewarded for a variety of reasons, from what you intend to major in to whether you work at McDonald’s. If that’s not enough to convince you, some scholarships have few applicants, so you’re almost guaranteed to win.
Scholarships don’t have to be paid back, which means there is no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of them. While it takes a little extra effort, you’ll be thankful you applied, especially if your scholarships save you from having to take out another loan. If you don’t know where to start, FHSU has a scholarship application full of opportunities for incoming and current students alike. You can also ask around in your community or search online.
In college, you get to plan your schedule, leaving it flexible to your needs. Many students have a job outside of school to help make ends meet. As long as you maintain good budgeting skills and watch what loans you take out, you don’t have to give up your dreams of going to college because of the expense. Just be smart, and don’t be afraid to accept help.
#3: You Need to Major in Something Practical.
I’m constantly asked what my college major is. It’s an important question, and if you’re still trying to find the answer, keep reading! You might feel pressured to pick a major based on what your parents would want or what feels safe. While yes, being a doctor, a teacher, or an engineer are all admirable courses of study, they’re not the only jobs out there. Consider all of your options. There are hundreds of majors to choose from (some of which you might have never heard of).
Don’t pick your major solely based on what’ll make you the most money. You’ll likely end up on a path you’re not passionate about, which could lead to an unhappy career or dropping out of college. It’s better to study something you’re interested in than have to grin and bear something you’re not.
College is the time to pursue your passions. Dig deeper into something you like. You’ll find that when it’s time to interview for a job, your enthusiasm will set you apart. Employers look for someone dedicated to their work and willing to learn, regardless of whether your degree matches the job description. Use college as a chance to focus on developing your soft skills while doing something you love and to mature as a person.
#4: Professors Are Strict and Don’t Care About Their Students.
Don’t worry. I can assure you, neither Miss Trunchbull nor Dolores Umbridge work at FHSU. At Fort Hays, all of my teachers have been extremely helpful and quick to reply to my emails and questions. Your professors will want you to succeed as much as you do, and they will do their best to make it happen. FHSU is a tight-knit community with a caring faculty. Your teachers really get to know you and want you to interact with them.
In my design classes, my professors and my peers are like a second family. Our department chair is even nicknamed Mama K. College professors are more laid-back than you’d think, and as long as you’re open to them and willing to learn, they’ll be there for you and make class fun.
#5: College Students Don’t Care About Current Events.
College students have a lot on their minds. From classes to internships, we have much to worry about. However, that doesn’t mean we’re self-absorbed. Many students come to college to pursue a career where we can make a difference in society. We also do our part to stay connected and up to date with current events and the community.
There are constant group discussions on campus. There’s even a whiteboard in the Union with a constantly changing debate topic, which you can write your thoughts on underneath. I learn more about current events through conversations in class than I do from watching the news.
This generation is the most connected, with online interaction and increasing diversity. With so many viewpoints available, we can form our own opinions and search deeper into an issue.
Besides talking about matters, Fort Hays tigers can pounce into action. There are clubs and organizations you can join to help support a cause, and there are plenty of volunteer opportunities to help the community. In college, you have a voice and can make a difference, surrounded by fellow supporters and in an environment that embraces change.
The recent Coronavirus pandemic proves just how active and adaptive college students can be with global issues. We switched from on-campus classes to finishing off our semester online. Despite social distancing, we worked together and helped keep the school up and running. Sure, in college you’ll have the opportunity to better yourself, but you can also help make the world a better place.
These are just a few of the most common college misconceptions. Hopefully, this article has given you some relief and better prepared you for college. If you’re one of the people spreading these rumors, I hope this will encourage you to stop giving college and college students such a bad rap. Fort Hays State University is full of opportunities, where you can further your education and make a leap towards the future. Don’t be afraid to take this next step in your educational journey. Instead, embrace it, and demolish these common college myths for yourself.
Mild-mannered student by day, writer by night... but typically by day, I’m Bailey Werner, current junior and graphic design major at Fort Hays State University. With a passion for storytelling that stemmed from 3rd grade writing hour, I’ve been crafting worlds and characters as a hobby for over a decade. Now, as a part-time content creator for the school, I’m living out my dream of writing professionally. If I’m not in my room reading, gaming, or making art, you can find me at the lake. I strongly believe in the power of storytelling, and I’ll continue to use my writing skills after graduation, in my work as a graphic designer.