Common Campus Stereotypes and Myths

Adjusting to campus life quickly as a first-year student.

By Evelynne Crumm August 23, 2022
Adjusting to campus life quickly as a first-year student

Moving in as a first-year student can be stressful. There are many changes and challenges coming your way considering you are joining a completely different and new environment. While Ben gave you a great insight on how to quickly make friends on campus, I am hoping to ease some fears of moving into a new place and starting college! Personally, I utilized many random Michigan resources to get adjusted to living on campus and attending classes. Given this, throughout my first semester I was able to debunk common college stereotypes and myths and overcome common misconceptions: 

Myth: Dining hall food is gross

Truth: Dining hall food has such a wide variety, meaning there is something you will like

My first meal on campus is one I won’t forget anytime soon. Walking in, I was overwhelmed by how many different options there were in South Quad dining alone. There was Italian, vegan, vegetarian, Chinese, Thai, and American. You name it, South Quad had it. With such a large variety of options just for lunch, I was able to find a salad with chicken, then go to desserts and grab myself a chocolate chip cookie and a water bottle – all to-go due to COVID-19 restrictions (at that time). Each of the nine dining halls on campus has a plethora of options, and you will find your favorite dining hall and your go-to meals quickly.

Myth: Your roommate will either be your best friend or enemy

Truth: You and your roommate can have whatever relationship you choose

As an incoming first-year about to move into the residence halls, living in a new environment and sharing a room with a new person can be stressful. Regardless of how you chose your roommate or if you decided to go blind, you and your roommate will adapt to a comfortable dynamic that fits you. Personally, my roommate and I in the residence halls didn’t feel the need to be close and do everything together, but we remained friends and would check in every so often. It is true that you and your roommate can become thick as thieves, or even bicker. Whatever this dynamic evolves into is completely up to you. My advice: Have an open mind and don’t let the little things get to you; instead, have a calm conversation if something is bothering you about the residence hall room dynamic.

Myth: Taking upper-level classes is not for first-year students

Truth: Anyone can take a class if they have the prerequisites completed

If you are coming to campus like I did with AP and transfer credit under your belt, then you can take upper-level courses right away! In my experience, I was able to test into fourth-semester Latin and begin there instead of taking introductory courses. All the credits and exams you took in high school do pay off and let you skip over introductory courses. So if you are transferring a lot of this credit as I did, you don’t have to retake your introductory level classes on campus (unless you choose to).

Myth: Waitlisted for a class means you cannot join it

Truth: You are likely to come off the waitlist during the first couple weeks

I have been waitlisted for multiple classes, yet I’ve never had an issue or couldn’t get into the class. Typically, there are a couple things you can do in order to come off the waitlist before the add/drop deadline passes. One, you can email the professor before the class begins and let them know you have an interest in the class. Two, you should go to the class until you come off the waitlist. Three, after the class, don’t be shy; go up to your professor and explain that you are on the waitlist and plan on coming to class anyway. Doing these three things should help you come off the waitlist by the end of the add/drop period, while also becoming acquainted with your professor.

Myth: Everyone comes in with a major

Truth: Many students come in undecided and figure it out as they go

While it is true that you will declare a major by the end of your second year, you don’t need to declare a major or have any idea what to study until then! That said, sign up for the random classes that pique your interest. I have taken so many, from a Revolutionary War seminar to a legislative process class. It was actually these random and oddly specific classes that helped me pick my major and minor combination in LSA and figure out what I wanted to do with my postgraduate career.

Myth: Once you pick a major you have to do only those classes

Truth: Regardless of your major, you can take whatever you want

Something I struggled with on campus was feeling restricted by my majors and minor in picking classes. Yes, you will have a credit threshold to meet, but you have four whole years to complete it. Also, it is important to note that while you may declare a major in your first year, you are not bound to this major for all four years – you have the freedom to change what you study during your four years at Michigan. Take fun, interesting classes every semester, and you may just surprise yourself in finding something new to study.

Hopefully these common myths about college help ease any last-minute fears and anxieties about moving to campus this week. As long as you remember that college is exactly what you make it, you will have not just a great first-year experience, but also a great four-year experience. My last-minute piece of advice is to read through Ben’s previous blog post, “A Quick Guide to Making Friends in Your First Week on Campus” and this blog post, and you will have some insight on how to make the most of your first year living on campus.

Evelynne Crumm

Evelynne Crumm (she/her) is a junior from Ann Arbor, MI studying business in the Ross School of Business and political science with a minor in history of law and policy in the College of Literature, Science, and Arts. Outside of school, Evelynne is involved in social and professional fraternity and sorority life as a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. She is also a current member of MECC Consulting Group through the Ross School of Business. Beyond extracurricular involvements, Evelynne works as a tour guide, course assistant for BA 200, and as a peer mentor for incoming Ross students. When not on campus, she enjoys hiking, exploring and traveling to new places, and seeing her dogs (two labs!) and family.