One thing a prospective freshman will hear over and over before going off to college is "It's nothing like high school." Students never really understand this comment until they are actually on campus.
College is all about becoming an adult and living your life to the best of your ability. Gone are the "popular kids," and the "cool table" in the cafeteria. You don't have that freshman hazing scene in college. In high school the frosh are the low kids on the totem pole. In college there are so many orientations, mixers and meet-and-greets that it's easy to build new friendships before the school year even starts.
Upper-classmen enjoy the fresh faces and new personalities of the freshman crowd. The biggest shocker of all is usually the amount of personal freedom involved in the learning process. In high school Mr. Smith, the English teacher, will hand out a sheet of notes and give a lecture that you are expected to spit back out word for word on the test. In college, Professor Smith will give her lecture an may very well ask for your opinion. There wont be any phone calls if you miss class three days this week and you'll still be expected to take the test and pass it. There is no one to hold your hand or walk you through your classes. You are there because you want to be and what you get out of it is up to you. Because you pay for the privilege of going to college its up to you to get your money's worth.
The personal freedom shocker stretches into your social calendar as well. Not only are there a plethora of dances, clubs, organizations, meetings groups and events to choose from nightly but your also faced with your classes and academic responsibilities. Its sometimes hard to know when to put a damper on the nightlife and get back to the books.
In high school, most of the people you attend class with are lifelong residents of the town. People you grew up with. People who have the same beliefs and background that you do. Chances are you go to church with these same people and your parents went to church with their parents. In college it is very likely that you will meet someone from across the state, across the country or across the world. You will hear and see vastly different ideas and cultural stand points than your own. Its a wonderful learning experience and part of what makes your college experience uniquely your own.
The differences in high school and college can be scary, but rest assured it will take no time at all to feel adjusted and comfortable in your new environment. These are the days that will create memories that last a lifetime.