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Brandon Furr
Dr. Meaghan Rand
UWRT 1103
11 November 2014
How do People Change in College, and Why?
Isnt it crazy how we can look back a year ago and realize how much everything has
changed? The amount of people that have left our lives, entered and stayed. The memories that
wont be forgotten and the moments that we wish did. Everything. Its crazy how it all happened
in just one year. I just dont get it. One year ago, I was that serious high-schooler who had my
daily schedule planned out since I was eight years old. School, gymnastics, sleep, repeat. Then, I
would only hang out with my friends on occasional Friday and Saturday nights. Today on the
other hand, I am doing things I would have pictured myself doing when I thought of myself
going off to college. I sleep whenever I get a chance. I hang out with friends basically eighteen
hours a day, seven days a week. I eat whatever I feel like eating and I do homework at the most
random times there could be. Most importantly, I have made more spontaneous decisions than I
can count. Ive entered the nature of freedom and have gone wild.
I always thought the way you acted in high school was undoubtedly the way you were
going to act in college. The partier low lives were still going to be the partier low lives when they
got to college and the nerdy goody-two shoes would still be doing their intense calculus and
game programming on a Friday night. With being in the honors program at UNC Charlotte, I
thought since I would be joining a part of an elite group of scholars on campus that we would be
going about school the same way we always had. However, I should have thought differently.

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Not only did I realize that I was acting and behaving out of the norm in almost everything I did
but everyone else was as well. So this begged the question, why are people changing in college?
Which, also, makes me think more about how are we changing during the process? This topic is
worth studying because this is a process that college students and I are experiencing today as we
speak.
Entering college requires youths to face multiple transitions, including changes in their
living arrangement, academic environments, and friendship networks, while adapting to greater
independence and responsibility in their personal and academic lives (Pittman and Richmond).
For many people college is their first time living away from home. The transformation of
the parent-child bond is a particularly significant event during this time (Berman and Sperling).
Moving away from home causes a lot of emotional stress mainly because students do not know
many other peers on campus. Since the social network of friends and relatives undergoes a major
change, the adolescents perhaps recognize the importance of attachment to parents as a secure
base to help cope with these transitional difficulties (Berman and Sperling). Parents can be seen
as one of the last few connections to their past life. Therefore, these relationships are rated as less
conflictual and more positive following the separation (Berman and Sperling).
College can be seen as time when students are entering the adult world. Following the
separation, independence increases which perhaps predispose adolescents to find new
relationships with their peers (Berman and Sperling). College introduces a completely new group
of people in a completely new environment. While a high school may have 500 to 1,000
students, a college or university may have upwards of 20,000 or more. With that being said, a
student will meet a group of people in college whose interests are more similar to theirs than the
people they associated with in high school. The university provides a larger group in which to

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belong (Pittman and Richmond). High school friends slowly fade importance as students develop
closer relationships with students not known before college (Larose and Blovin).
Before I moved to college, I only knew only one friend from my high school who was
also attending UNC Charlotte. The first week of college we did everything together because I am
honestly the most awkward person when it comes to meeting new people. I would text my mom
all the time telling her how awkward making new friends were. We would have low key
conversations on my first impressions of these new people in my life. Then, after getting
comfortable enough to actual speak to my roommate for more than ten words; we realized we
have a lot in common. I also started discovering the people that lived on my dorm hall were the
same people in my classes. We were all a part of the University Honors Program and had similar
goals and outlooks on life. I dont think I have clicked with a group so well in my life. We are all
already best friends and do everything together. My friend from high school? We have not
spoken in two months. It is crazy how the tables have turned. My parents? It may sound awful,
but sometimes I can go two whole days without speaking to them but I feel our relationship is
tighter than ever.
Meeting new friends and being in a new environment means that students may change the
way they act and behave compared to the way they did in high school. There are changes in
interest, which are often accompanied by changed attitudes toward the self and the world
(Robins, Fraley and Roberts).Nobody is breathing down every students neck telling them what
to do and when they have to do it. The emergence of new values results in personality changes
among students (Robins, Fraley and Roberts). College is a time for a student to truly discover
who they are and more importantly, what they want to do with their life. Amidst all these

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changing life circumstances, personality exhibits impressive levels of continuity (Webster,
Freedman and Heist).
Stewart reported increases in dominance and extraversion, and decreases in introversion
in a longitudinal study of college students (Webster, Freedman and Heist). Being around only the
people college students want to be around causes them to be more open and likely to express
their views. In being able to do that, the students are more confident in themselves. According to
A Longitudinal Study of Personality Change in Young Adulthood, the degree of continuity is far
from perfect, and most individuals seem to show important change in at least some domains
(Webster, Freedman and Heist). This means that it is impossible to conclude one general trend of
personality change among the millions of college students in the world. Further inquiry into the
antecedents, concomitants, and consequences of different patterns of change is needed (Webster,
Freedman and Heist).
College has allowed me to discover my personality. I mean my real personality, not the
personality Ive always pretended to have. Coming from a small high school, everyone was
judgmental towards one another. Sometimes I could not act like the real me. I believe that is
where I got my shyness from. I was always afraid of saying the wrong thing. Yet now, I could
care less about how people feel about me. I am going to do me. This is a fresh start with fresh
new people, and my true colors are coming out. I am actually becoming very extroverted with
my friends and I am becoming more outgoing. In the classroom, I am still shy but that just
depends on how much I like the class and the people in it.
Depending on the students personality determines how likely that student is going to
give into peer pressure. Peer pressure is one of the main reasons why we change during college.
Think about it. How could it not be? When college students move onto a college campus, they

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are living solely with their peers. Momma and daddy are no longer there to tell you what to not
do. Therefore, students feel the need to try all the rebellious things they were not allowed to do at
home. It probably doesnt help that there are 20,000 students feeling the same way. Drinking is
one of the top peer pressures that college students face.
Drinking usually starts or is exacerbated during the first six weeks of college (Borsari and
Carey). Social drinking that occurs during a students freshman year can follow them for the rest
of their collegiate career. During high school, college-bound students are less likely to drink than
their peers who never attend college, according to an update on college drinking research
(Borsari and Carey).However, the college-bound kids that drink more than their peers are the
ones who tend to drink the most heavily when they get to school, White said (Borsari and
Carey). College students feel the need to fit in, so if their group of friends is drinking, it is likely
they will join in too. The three risk factors that are associated with the increased quantity of
drinking in college are gender, residence in a fraternity or sorority, and a history of conduct
problems (Borsari and Carey).
During the first week of college, I witnessed peer pressure first hand. Every Saturday I
hear the same phrases attempting to persuade an honors student who has probably never done
anything wrong in Jesuss name to drink. They use the experience of college to excuse underage
social drinking. For example, during the first week of college I was appalled to witness some
students threaten their scholarships by drinking recklessly in their dorm. I have also noticed
peer pressure in other forms than drinking. However, some of the peer pressure I have
experienced is actually enjoyable. A group of friends led me out of my comfort zone and got me
to realize that new experiences are not always a bad thing. One Thursday night, the night before
a Spanish test to be exact, I went to the club in uptown Charlotte. Although I would have never

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seen myself in the club scene before coming to college, I had a lot of fun twerking the night
away with my new found best friends.
Speaking of wasting the night away, what are nights anymore? Another major change
during college is students sleep and study habits. College students are among the most sleepdeprived people in the country (Bulbotltz, Brown and Barlow). There is no set schedule during
college other than your classes. Classes are shorter than high school and there may not be as
many in a day. Therefore, the rest of the day is free to do whatever the student pleases. College
students may be sleep deprived due to the irregularity of their sleeping habits which positively
correlates to study habits (108). Bad study habits usually cause sleep deprivation, such as,
cramming for a test or procrastinating till the last minute to get an assignment done. College
students with these bad study habits could rely on coffee, pills, and stimulants which further
damages the sleep cycle (Bulbotltz, Brown and Barlow).
When I first got to college, I had not one earthly clue how to study. High school did not
prepare me for college. I hardly ever studied in high school. During the first few weeks of
college, I would aim for my bedtime to be 2 A.M. I made it so late because I did not know how
to do homework efficiently and I had no self-control. No matter what people were doing, I
always had to be a part of the fun. Then I would wake up every morning feeling sleep deprived
which affected my grades even more. The new environment and schedule of college takes
students on a long rollercoaster ride of figuring out their time management schedule which
usually results in a lack of sleep. College is obviously harder so it requires more practicing and
studying than ever before.
College is meant to be one of the best times in our lives. It is our ticket into the world of
adulthood. There are so many ways we can change during college. If it be from social changes,

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personality changes to peer pressure or sleep and study habits. College is allowing us to discover
who we really are. The number one denominator in this equation of change is freedom. The new
environment of college has allowed us to ultimately make these decisions to change in the ways
we do. Change can negative in the beginning but it will mold us in the people we hope to
someday be.
Reflection:
The most interesting thing I learned from paper is there is so many ways that we change
during college. We are changing as we speak. The most interesting part to me is how quickly it
all happened. We have been college for four months and I can tell I have already transformed
into an entirely new person. The part I struggled with the most in the part was finding the
positives of change. I mainly found how college students change negatively. However, my paper
was more on how the transition between high school and college than over the four years. I
believe if I spoke about the whole four years, I could find some positive change and how college
has changed someone entirely.
I inquiry question did change over time. I originally was only going to do how likely it
was for a person to try alcohol in college but then I realized the topic was too narrow. Therefore,
I changed my topic to broaden it, which I believe was a good choice. I got to talk on all aspect of
change during college and why we are changing. It is important to look at the historical view of
my topic. A lot of data on my topic is with research studies over the past few decades which was
very helpful. I am most most proud of my personal connection in this paper. I feel like this paper
related home very well to me. I wish I would have been able to touch on students other than
students that live on campus. There was not a lot of data on commuters.

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Works Cited
Berman, William H and Michael B. Sperling. "Parental attachment and emotional distress in the
transition to college." Journal of Youth and adolescence (1991): 427-440. 5 November
2014.
Borsari, Brian and Katie B Carey. "Peer influences on college drinking: A review of the
research." Journal of Substance Abuse (2004): 391-424. Article. 5 November 2014.
Bulbotltz, Walter C, Franklin Brown and Soper Barlow. "Sleep Habits and Patterns of College
Students: A Preliminary Study." Journal of American College Health (2001): 131-135.
Article. 5 November 2014.
Larose, Simon and Michel Blovin. "Attachment to Parents Social SupportExpectations, and
Socioemotional Adjustment During the High School-College Transition." Journal of
Research on Adolescence (1998): 1-27. Article. 5 November 2014.
Pittman, Laura D and Adeya Richmond. "University Belonging, Friendship Quality, and
Psychological Adjustment During the Transition to College." Journal of Experimental
Education (2008): 343-362. Article.
Robins, Richard W, et al. "A Longitudinal Study of Personality Change in Young Adulthood."
Journal of Personality (2001): 617-640. 5 November 2014.
Webster, Harold, Mervin B. Freedman and Paul Heist. "Personality Changes in College
Students." The American college: A psychological and social interpretation of the higher
learning (1962): 811-846. Article. 5 November 2014.