Posted 4:07 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021

Wittich Hall on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus.

Fears and falsehoods from high school that just weren’t true 

College isn’t like in the movies. Professors are not intimidating, inflexible people. Classes aren’t all lectures. And your entire grade doesn’t depend on one final exam score. We asked UW-La Crosse students who are also campus tour guides to fill us in on the biggest misconceptions about college they had as high school students and what they learned along the way. 

Misconception No. 1: Professors are difficult to approach 

Jayden Sawyer

“Going into my freshman year, I was terrified to approach my professors with any questions I had about the class or exams. I quickly learned that professors are people too, and they genuinely want you to succeed in their class. Taking time to get to know them and asking them questions — even if they're not class-related—  helps build that connection and college experience for you.” 

- Jayden Sawyer 

Misconception No. 2: You need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life when you graduate high school 

Holly Johnson

“It is extremely difficult to pick a major/career without really exploring all options. You will change your mind multiple times, and that is okay!” 

- Holly Johnson 

Misconception No. 3: All classes involve sitting and listening to lectures 

Lauren Priem

“As it turns out, actual college classes are much more involved and you don't just sit, listen and take exams.”

- Lauren Priem 

Misconception No. 4: Your schedule is planned for you, including time to study and work on assignments 

Brady Fischer

“In college it is ultimately up to you on how you want to spend your free time. I also realized there is a lot more time on your hands to do what you want to do due to living such an independent lifestyle.”

- Brady Fischer 

Misconception No. 5: College is all about partying

Miya Staffaroni 

“Everyone is told crazy party stories and especially about Oktoberfest going to school in La Crosse. But there is so much more than partying. School takes up a lot of time. Even on weekends, there are always outdoor activities to do like hiking in the bluffs and volunteering around town. It is okay to not drink and go out.”

- Miya Staffaroni 

Misconception No. 6: You have to become best friends with your roommate

Shannon Casey

“I love my freshman year roommate and we're still great friends, but we did not do well living together. Now that we don't live together, our friendship has grown.”

- Shannon Casey 

Misconception No. 7: You need to have everything figured out your first semester because everyone else does 

Carly Kowal

“Joining different clubs and taking introductory classes are a great way to figure out what you are interested in the most. It's okay to figure out what's best for you along the way because everyone else is too!” 

- Carly Kowal 

Misconception No. 8: Finals have an enormous impact on your grades

Olivia Woodmansee

“For most of my classes, especially general education courses, the final made up less than 25 percent of my grade. This was nice because it means that you do not have to cram a semester's worth of information into your head for every class you take. Additionally, there is no need to panic about exams as you start each of your classes, which I know is what I did as a freshman.”

Olivia Woodmansee 

Misconception No. 9: Bathroom lines will always be long in campus housing 

Holly Korfmacher 

“I thought I would have to wait in massive lines to use the restroom in the residence halls since so many girls share the same bathroom. In reality, every student has a different schedule, start time, break times, and end times, so it is rare to wait in any sort of line.”

Holly Korfmacher 

Misconception No. 10: Professors are scary and strict  

Francisco Zavala 

In reality professors are just regular people like us. They have families and they also understand college students and what we go through. I once had a professor cancel class because he didn’t want to drive in the snow.

- Francisco Zavala 

Misconception No. 11: The friends you meet your first few weeks will be your friends forever

Joyell Glocke

I was friends with the same group for the first two and a half years, but as we dove more into our majors and practiced different lifestyles to manage academic stress, we quickly all drifted apart. I am much closer with the individuals I started friendships with in classes or by sitting next to a stranger at lunch than I am with the original core group of people I met. And that’s okay. You don’t have to hang on to every relationship you make — especially if over time you realize you just don’t get along as well as you once thought you would.

- Joyell Glocke

Misconception No. 12: You need to get straight As in college

Lexie Friess

Getting a B or a C isn’t going to kill you in the long run. It may feel like it, but trust me: Being involved counts more. Making those memories that will last a lifetime is more important than always getting straight As.

- Lexie Friess 

Misconception No. 13: I won’t be able to get the help I need in classes

Lauren Holzberger

“I thought office hours will always be packed with people and professors would be very hard to contact. After coming to UWL, I was quick to realize that this is far from the truth. Office hours have minimal amounts of people, plus the other students there will help you understand concepts when the professor is busy. Also, professors are very understanding and easy to communicate with through email, zoom, or even in person.” 

- Lauren Holzberger 

Read more tips about college life on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse College Tips blog.