I wish I had know more about the post-recession job market before I attended. Personally things worked out for me, but some of my friends had trouble finding jobs after graduation due to the recession.
Be prepared to study more than you thought possible. The library will be your friend.
Before coming to Northwestern, I wish I had known about how students view the balance between school, personal, social, and work life. Although each student is different, it would have been helpful to know how students with similar interests have dealt with their priorities. Many students have found success in finding the ideal balance, so having the ability to consult with them and gain advice would have been extremely helpful. All in all, my experience at Northwestern has still been a positive one, and I'm glad to have grown in the past 4 years here.
I wish I would've known how segregated this school is. Coming here I thought Northwestern would be a good mix of different types of people or at least that most people would be open-minded and open to people with new perspectives and experiences but based on what I've experienced since coming here this is definitely not the case. No one can consider themself a victim; everyone is at fault because I see this division even in the smaller sub communities that we've created. It feels like high school all over again sometimes.
It gets COLD. I'm from Southern California and had never seen snow until coming, so I strongly advise in investing in winter gear. Academically, it's a lot of hard work, but not too much. There's still plenty of time to go into Chicago and hang out with friends (and do make time to go in to Chicago while you're here. Evanston as a town isn't too much fun, and there's not really much to do).
It really kind of matters how you dress here. People don't wear pajamas to class.
I wish I would have known how cold it is, chicago is sooo cold!!! I also wish I would have known more about distribution requirements and AP credit policies.
How to cook!
The competition is huge!
That I needed to be able to manage distractions, like Facebook and the internet better--it's easy to get behind on school work and very difficult to catch up.
Don't sweat the small stuff. Realize that you are so blessed to be even attending college! You can only do what you can do each day, so be happy with that and bring that happiness to others :)
I wish I had known just how challenging the quarter system (in place of the semester system) would be. Having 4 classes every quarter for only 9-11 weeks is extremely hard academically, especially if you are active in social clubs, school clubs, sports, or any other extra-curriculars that may take up a lot of time. Although it is possible and becomes easily manageable by the second year, it took almost all of the first year for me to get used to the quarter system, while efficiently balancing work, dance, and volunteering.
I wished I had known how cold it was going to get and how pre-professional it can be.
I wish I knew more about the greek commmuity and its promenance. I don't think I was well informed about the social life at NU. I am in the greek community which comprises 38% of the undergraduate student body. I don't think I realized how much this would influence the social life of NU.
The strong presence of Greek life. I live off campus now and have lots of non-Greek friends, but freshman year it was very hard to adjust as someone who wasn't interested in being in a frat. You can go hardly anywhere without seeing frats guys and sorority girls and their events going on.
I wish I had known how big the frat life was here. I lived up on the north end of campus next to all the frats and it was very annoying.
I wish I would have known about the lack of racial diversity. I wish I would have known how hard it was going to be. I wish I would have had a better high school education before coming here.
I researched everything well before I came. I don't think there have been any surprises
Freshmen year is the most important year to do well academically.
I guess the only thing I wish I had known was how different life is on north vs. south campus. I lived on south campus, and it was fun. There were a lot of outgoing, cool people. But my sophomore year I'm living on north campus because I think it will be more fun. If you like to party choose north campus.
I wish I knew that the campus was such a liberal place. I knew before I came that it was a liberal school, but it is extraordinarily liberal, which I love.
That I wouldn't be the smartest in my class anymore. That I would have to work a lot harder than in high school.
I wish I had known how academically challenging this school would be. Although I do love a good challenge, I do feel like sometimes it is overwhelming.
I wish I had known how much time I would need to devote to studying and preparing for essays and exams. I also wish I had known how much personal responsibility I would have to take regarding my coursework and degree process, as advisors don't really help you plan out class-by-class what you need to do to graduate succesfully in your major.
I wish I had known that public transportation in Chicago is not very reliable and is extremely slow. Before I came to Northwestern Universit y I thought I could easily go into downtown Chicago but it takes at least an hour to get downtown from Northwestern.
I wish I had known how difficult and involved classes really are. Almost everyone who goes here was at the top of their high school class, so when you get together with so many people coming from the same level as you, the work gets much harder. When I got here, I realized that everyone knows as much as me, and most of them even more. It takes some getting used to, but in the end it is really helpful because there are always people here that will help you, if you struggle with some specific concept.
Perfect Size, Perfect Location. Trimester is an amazing way to take more classes, for shorter time and really dive into a specefic topic. Sometimes you want a big class, other times smaller classes are a better fit.
How different it would be from high school. Professors expect something completely different from college students that do high school teachers from students. The transition from high school to college wasn't particularly easy and there was nothing available to facilitate transition. Also, I wish I had known how big the Greek scene is here so I could better prepare myself for the superficiality of the campus that I had not expected.
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