Preparing for college seems fairly graspable: register for classes, buy books, find a place to live, and maybe some furniture. Yes, there are things that are not as obvious: eating the right foods, saving money, or utilizing time-management. But these ways quickly find physical manifestations: feeling horrible, freshman fifteen, being broke and consistent all nighters.
But what is not so overt or tangible is that which rests at the foundation of the college and university system, learning. The process and pressure of learning fundamentally juxtaposes pedagogy incoming students have become accustomed to and are familiar with, and this can be a dangerous transition, or lack thereof, for many freshmen.
In high school, learning is much more of a passive process. Teachers mostly center the class around general standards of learning. They also baby-sit to a certain extent, doling out punishment for lack of attendance, participation, or failure to turn in work. The students, to a large degree, are forced into the learning process whether they like it or not.
In college, learning becomes an exceptionally active process. Pressure is put on students to develop their own self accountability for the learning process. Professors expect students to engage themselves with the course content and act more as facilitators, guiding the students and providing essential context. Teachers will assign reading without directly discussing it and homework without collecting it, which, to a naive mind, might give the impression that the activity lacks value. Or an instructor might not take attendance the entire semester, again giving the impression that attendance is neither mandatory nor important.
The fracture and opposition between these binary learning approaches for the most part are never addressed explicitly. The collegiate environment expects this contrast to become obvious, despite its inherit implicitness and invisibility. The lack of obvious access may be unfair to a certain extent, although this approach also concentrates on the importance of self-actualization.
College is an enormous and life changing investment and commitment, not simply on a fiscal level but also a personal level. The experience can easily affects the way students see and construct the world around them. Students can change their eating habits and work out. They can find new roommates or places to live. They can also easily find ways to cut back in spending or save money. However, college students can never make up for time wasted at one of the most critical junctions of their lives. So above all else, they must be told – you can’t forget to learn.