02/13/2014 05:14 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

8 Things No One Tells You Before You Leave For College

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1. You’ll have to remember, and plan, to eat. It seems simple: Your body feels hungry, you consume food. But all the sudden, when you don’t have a dedicated period for lunch and a magically always-stocked pantry, you’ll realize it’s it 3:00 p.m., you’re starving and you can’t leave class to get a snack.

2. “The Best Four Years Of Your Life” is not so cut and dry. That commonly heard phrase implies that the moment you set foot on your college campus, you’re in for a non-stop blast. Really, you’ll be homesick (it’s normal!), and there will be some bumps -- making friends, adjusting to dorm-life -- on the way. For many, going to college is a huge life change, and there’s no shame in taking some time to adjust to it.

3. You’re still far, far away from the “real world.” Unless you’ve wanted to be a doctor since the first time you played Operation, don’t stress too much about picking your college major before your journey even begins. Chances are, you won’t realize what really interests you until you’ve tried a bit of everything, through classes and internships. And that might not even be until after college. Some food for thought: Conan O’Brien studied history & American literature.

4. You won’t feel like a whole new person. Movies and TV might have you believe that college means time for a brand new identity -- you can ditch the band geek persona to become the big jock on campus. Sure, you will do a ton of growing up in the next four years. You might even discover a new-found love for ballroom dancing, or science, or curling. But no, you won’t one day wake up as a totally different person. This is OK, because you’re pretty awesome already.

5. There are no couches in college. No, this is not a metaphor. Most dorm rooms have a bed, a desk and a chair. Some have a common area with a not-so-comfy futon. Frat house sofas probably carry strains of the plague. If you have a big comfy couch at home, spend a lot of time lounging on it this summer. You might not get that opportunity for awhile.

6. It will take effort to keep up important friendships. When miles separate you, a favorited tweet or a "liked" Instagram photo will not be enough to maintain BFF status with your high school friends. But don't beat yourself up for not having time to speak to your BFF every single day. Just as long as you carve out some time for actual conversation, that bond isn’t going anywhere.

7. Your “type” might change. In high school you went out with the lacrosse player, then their friend, then their other friend. But in college, the pool is way bigger and you have plenty of time to flirt with all different kinds of people. So, make sure you give that guy or gal, who wouldn’t have necessarily sat at your lunch table, a chance.

8. Family is about to become a whole lot more important. You roll your eyes when mom and dad warn you, “YOU’LL MISS US NEXT YEAR!” But hate to break it to you: they’re right. Now that your parents aren’t live-in homework naggers, you’ll realize how often you’re actually calling on them for help. Becoming an adult means realizing the ones who raised you have already been there and done that. Eventually, hanging with them may even be -- dare we say it? -- fun.