College, university as most people overseas call it, is almost required to succeed in life now. The experience can be a really great one, a really negative one, or one that just is. From my time attending I've found there are several things that people never really tell you when you're going to college.
1. Money disappears really fast and it isn't just due to textbooks and course materials! When in college there's a freedom that changes from high school which means you're more likely to go out to eat, out with friends, buying things you don't need, and so on which drains your wallet and bank account. No one goes over money management before you go to college and no one really brings this topic up unless they are talking about how expensive textbooks are.
2. Smoking weed is a major part of many college's campus life. So you've heard about the drinking but not many people mention how the average college campus tends to have at least 25% of its student body high throughout the day. That's shocking for most considering the drug is illegal in more than 75% of the United States and most of the world. I bring this up because many people who are against the drug are pressured into trying it at least once to "fit in." You don't need to smoke or drink to have friends. If you want to do either of these things, do it for yourself and no one else. I'm happy to say that while I do drink, I don't drink excessively and I've never smoked weed in my life.
3. Internships are just as important, if not more important, than having a 3.5 or higher GPA. Did I shock you? I know, so many people place this ridiculous amount of importance on a GPA when some of the most successful people in the world kept their college GPA's around a 3.0. All a GPA shows is how well you can conform to your teacher's expectations and spit out data, not how smart you are, not how creative you are, and definitely not how well you'll do in a real working environment. Take as many internships as possible. I suggest starting as early as the summer after your first year of college if possible. Internships give you real world skills, networking opportunities, and usually money.
4. Dorming with others can be really stressful. Most of us are use to dealing with our families, having our own rooms, and so on. When you dorm it is a different ball game. If you don't have a single, which usually costs a good deal more than sharing with someone, you have to become accustomed to another person's way regarding their schedule of going in and out of the room, their sleeping habits, if they are trustworthy (not going to steal from you and so on), and more. If you don't know your dorm mate, and most people don't when they come in as freshmen, this is a massive learning curve which can lead to arguments and stress.
5. Fraternities and Sororities are not the only houses that throw parties. Are you shocked? Well, now you know the truth. Many sports teams get houses and tend to throw some incredible parties. For me, I've noticed the lacrosse, baseball, and football houses go nuts. Depending upon who you know, what the party is offering, and so on you might pay to enter the party and that varies. If you go to an Ivy League college or can attend one of their parties, those are absolutely freaking insane. I've been to two at Princeton and I was living the high life. Note that it is important to always keep your drink with you and know where it came from as many people like to slip things into them which can harm you.