Uncovering the truth behind college’s biggest myths

Myth 1: “I took eight classes in high school, so I should take at least five or six during college.”

In reality, college is a lot different from high school. For one thing, most high schools offer a curriculum over nine months, whereas the college curriculum only spans about four. It is less important how many classes you take and more important how many credits you take. At the College of William and Mary, for every credit hour, you will spend about one hour in class and three hours doing work or reading outside of class per week. Therefore, if you take a three-credit class, you will spend about three hours in class and about nine hours doing assignments out of class  in a typical week. A freshman should only be taking about 12-15 credits, so there’s no need to panic about your “smaller” course load.

Myth 2: “Everyone goes to parties and drinks all the time.”

In fact, a large portion of the student population doesn’t drink at all, and the party scene isn’t for everyone. If you’re more comfortable spending Saturday night in your dorm room with a few friends playing games, watching movies and eating popcorn, nobody will judge you. Never feel pressured into a situation with which you don’t feel comfortable. Consider other options that fit your style better. Programs planned by your resident advisor or Thursday Night Open Mic at Aroma’s on Prince George Street can be good alternatives to a party.

Myth 3: “The freshman 15 is inevitable.”

It is entirely possible to indulge a little too much, especially if your freshman year is the first time you’ve been completely in charge of your own diet, but that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to over-eating. With options like salad bars and sandwich stations in the dining halls, it is definitely possible to eat on the healthier side. You can also spend your Dining Dollars on more than just late-night Domino’s pizza. Consider options like sandwiches from the Aroma’s café in Swem or Pita Pit in Tribe Square.

Myth 4: “I heard you can just skip class… or wake up five minutes before and go in your PJ’s!”

This is actually correct, but it’s definitely not a recommended habit. If you oversleep, it is better to dash off to class in pajama pants than to not go at all, but most professors consider it rather rude for you to not even take the effort to slip into some jeans. There is no need to dress to the nines every single day, but changing out of the sweat pants most days is a good idea. Exceptions to that rule are big lecture classes, as nobody cares what you are wearing in a class of 150 people.

Also, attending class is vital. The downside to the smaller class sizes at William and Mary is that most professors do take attendance and will notice if  you only attended class once the whole semester—on syllabus day. It will bring your grade down. You’re only in the classroom 12-15 hours a week—just go.


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