Furry Writers' Guild Forum

What is college life like?

I never been to college before, but I had some ideas based on friends going to college and movies. However I feel like I don’t know a lot since I never experienced it.
I would like to understand how the dorm system works, and how you get a dorm with roommates.
How you get your classes and your scheduling, also the life of living on campus?
What was it like having a part time job while going to school full time?

I never been to college, so I just want to understand the whole experience of going to a large college or university. Could I have some help?

What time period, specifically? Some of us whom have had the experience had it…some while ago. :stuck_out_tongue: I imagine, like many things, there are a number of things that change with the passing of time, and other time-honored traditions and rites of passage that don’t.


I can’t speak to all experiences, since I never lived on campus, but I’ll answer a few questions:

  1. having a part time job on top of full-time classes is a very difficult juggling act. It is a little easier if your job is also on campus. At one point I had two part-time jobs with my classes. That lasted for about a month.
    Generally it would work like this: I’d try to schedule all my classes to be early morning or to be all on the same days. My school generally had classes that would be M/W/F or Tues/Thurs (classes were slightly longer on T/T schedule). Then I would work with my part-time jobs to get work shifts either in the afternoon/evenings or on the days I didn’t have school. Homework I worked on mostly on the weekends or late at night. It wasn’t unusual for me to stay up till midnight or later working on homework.

This is exhausting, so generally I didn’t do any social activities AT ALL while school was in session. Or if I did it was with other students on campus, like lunch together or group study sessions.

Once I was so exhausted from this schedule that I fell asleep WHILE RIDING A BICYCLE home from my cashier job. I woke up in the middle of the road.

  1. Classes and scheduling are done by the student. Generally you have a list of classes you need for your major, and you pick from that list, having to keep in mind pre-requisites. Lower level starter classes will have multiple time offerings, but usually higher level classes and graduate classes might only be offered at one time, or even only once per year. It is up to the student to also not sign up for two classes that take place at the same time (at least at my school, the online scheduler thing would totally let you do that).

When I went to college I worked hard to schedule my classes in such a way that they were all in a continuous chunk. That way I could schedule my work around it. I did live on campus for three years. That process went something like this:

  1. Choose how much you’re willing to pay for housing.

  2. Pick a dorm that fits in that budget.

  1. Find a roommate or be assigned one.
    Your options here are limited. Normally you would try to find someone from your hometown going to the same college and room with them, or you just apply for a single bed in a multi-bed room. Since colleges want to squeeze people for as much housing money as possible they will always assign you a roommate if you do this. Unless you are super lucky and even then you have to keep all of the other spaces move-in ready at all times.

  2. All of your food money is locked in pre-purchased meal plans
    This is literally the worst because you have to eat at overpriced cafeterias all the time. I personally managed to scrape enough money together to buy groceries or eat out a few times, but normally it was all on-campus food and we didn’t have any third-party options.

  3. Meet tonnes of people that share your interests.
    Kinda awesome actually. I did so much D&D it was awesome. Wrote a lot of code. Jumped into Minecraft at the start with a group of cool dudes. Had 30 person nerf gun fight.

  4. Realize you’re gay.
    This might be more of a me thing, but living in the weird bubble that was the dorms and turning inward for that first year helped me come to terms with things that I would not have otherwise, had I not been isolated from my family. It was odd, without my old support structure I had to figure out a lot on my own. It was hard, and it really sucked at times. But in the end, I did figure out who I was not because of the classes or the education, but because I moved away and had to stand on my own.

Obviously, my experiences are my own, but that is basically what living on campus was like in 6 oversimplified steps. My job had me up until 3 am regularly with classes at 8 am. It was hard.

If you have specific questions, I would be happy to answer.