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Over the past weekend I visited some of my friends that live at UMASS Amherst. Although they have only been there for a few months it seems that they have the system of a college life with no parents down to a science. Each of my friends has their own method of obtaining food, doing laundry, homework, partying etc but they all are in the same category; 18 year old kids with no rules, and it doesn t mix well! After being there for 2 nights and seeing everything that one needed to see, I asked my friends how it was to live there and the changes that they faced when they first got there, this is what they came up with.

Just think of all the times the alarm clock did not go off, and mom was there to make sure school was still reached on time. When the alarm clock fails to go off at college, then the first class of the day is simply missed. When I am here, I don t have anyone to tell me what to do, I come and go as I please , says Matt. At home breakfast is made to order: eggs, bacon, pancakes, or even French toast. In college one finds a particular meal that is edible, and must stick with it. A cabinet could be opened at home and a variety of tasty foods are readily available. In college a meal card is swiped though a machine upon entering the cafeteria, and the word “tasty” rarely enters the mind. Nutrition is a factor at home; while at college there is no such thing. I just get whatever tastes best , says Matt.

Privacy is always available at home; there is somewhere to read, write, listen to music, or to just rest. A dorm room on the other hand is only empty on Thursday night. At home a bedroom is somewhere to keep all personal belongings; there is a particular space for everything to fit. Space efficiency becomes hard to find in college. Janelle explains, My stuff is everywhere, there is no room for anything . At home there is no worry of someone coming into the bedroom unless permission is given to enter. In college a day without at least ten random visitors is considered boring. Good luck trying to be alone, friends just come and go as they please at all times of the day , tells Janelle.

At home, family were the only people living inside the house. In college the entire floor becomes family. The phone is the link of communication between friends in high school; e-mail becomes a second language in college. Conversations at home are often revolve around the evening news; while at school, it is totally the opposite. For the college student Western Europe could be wiped out by a horrible plague and no one would ever know, but last week’s entire episode of “The Simpsons” could be recited with ease.

In high school going to bed at midnight is late; asleep by 2:30 a.m. is an early night in college. At home a bed is somewhere to sleep, where in college it turns into a desk, table, couch, and anything else one can imagine. Obviously I sleep in my bed on a regular basis but sometimes its just wherever you pass out after a hard night of partying .

The closet at my home always seemed a little on the small side; in college the closets seem big until it is realized they are supposed to fit everything you own inside them. Laundry is done without any thought at home; mom just picks it up and it arrives back to the room clean, and folded nicely on the bed. Quarters are like gold in college. The laundry piles up inside the room until it becomes impossible to pass without falling, and then one has to resort to actually bringing it down to the to the washer. Jeans at home are washed after each use, whether they are dirty or not. Recycling becomes synonymous with laundry in college; jeans can be worn as many times as days in the week.

High school starts and ends at a set time. Classes in college the later the better. Fire alarms are cool in high school; everyone loves to get out of class. They are no longer amusing at college. In high school teachers are always in their classrooms, and fairly easy to find. College Professors are like celebrities; there are so many people looking for them, yet they are nowhere to be found. Teachers check to make sure all books are covered in high school; professors could care less. Remember when in high school if a paper or a test wasn t done on time the teacher would give you an extra day if you begged hard enough, its not like that here , says Janelle. Professors only know you as a statistic, most could care less whether you passed or failed . High school is free; college is filled with expenses one never thought possible.

When living at home parents had to know where and when their children were at all times. In college parents can only hope their children are at least attending classes. In high school there is a car available to drive around; in college nobody uses cars except to go home.

College life is an experience one can never forget. The memories of high school still linger in every college students thought, but there are so many other issues to deal with while attending college. Stress is a word that no high school student can fully understand until entering college. There are some similarities to home life and college life, but the differences seem infinite. Though, college life may seem adventurous; every college student knows exactly how good it feels to go back home.

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