The transition from high school to college life can be rough, especially since many incoming college freshman are dismally underprepared for life as a college student. Even the straight-A students find it hard to adjust. Life as a college student is a whole new world; from the classroom to the cafeteria, everything is different from high school. But almost all college students adjust very quickly to their new environment, and find that they love the change of pace. Here are a few things that you can expect during your first semester.
The high school classroom was sort of a glorified day care. Your high school teacher babied and coddled all of her students. If she was lecturing and someone needed her to slow down in order to catch up in his notes, she would wait. She would make sure every student heard all of the details for the next assignment. And if there was any spare time at all after the lecture or video, she would allow the students to chat or leave class. High school is pretty laid back. But don’t get used to this classroom style, for the college classroom is a completely different environment. Your college professor will lecture without waiting for anyone to catch up. And he will pack as much information into the lecture as possible, taking advantage of every last minute of class. Once in a blue moon a professor might release class early, but not very often. Also, the college professor uses what is called a syllabus for all of the class assignments, tests, and reading material. If you don’t read the syllabus, you are just out of luck, because the professor won’t reiterate the homework assignments verbally in class. If it’s a big assignment, perhaps he might. But the norm is that you will be expected to read the syllabus.
If you had the luxury of your own personal bedroom at home, there are many creature comforts you will have to part with as a new college freshman. Freshman dorms usually have only one or two bathrooms per floor, so you may not get to shower at the exact time that you prefer. And room checks are scheduled once a week, so forget having your mom clean up after you, or being allowed to keep clutter all over your floor. You will also meet so many people in such a short amount of time that you will think you will never be able to remember all of their names. Unfortunately, your college probably doesn’t perform compatibility tests for roommates, so whomever you get is who you’re stuck with for a semester. If this is someone who is difficult to get along with, you might have to make some sacrifices in order to keep the peace.
For many students, high school was a breeze. They never had to study in order to maintain their perfect grades. Those days are long gone for the life of a college student! Even if learning comes easy for you, college life will still be a challenge, academically speaking. Hours and hours of studying and homework will be required if you want to maintain the same level of grades that you achieved in high school. And if you were the type of student that freaked out if you got a “B” on an assignment, you need to let go of that attitude. You will get “B’s”. You will probably see a couple of “C’s” and “D’s” before it is all said and done as well. Sometimes a professor won’t show any mercy on an assignment simply because you worked harder than anyone else in the class to complete the assignment. If the information contained in the assignment is wrong, you might still get a horrible grade. The college student must work very hard, while also letting go of perfectionism.
If any of this information took you completely by surprise, there is no reason to be afraid or nervous. Everyone has a few jitters during their first few days as a college student. Just be ready for some major changes and a few surprises. Be flexible, determined, and diligent in your studies and your first semester will be under your belt before you know it.