Congrats! You’re going to college!
Now, some of you may be attending your dream school, your second choice, even getting your basics done at a community college before transferring to a four-year school. Either way it’s still exciting!
Like most of the people I have met on the road of higher education, my parents didn’t go to college. My family had no clue about financial aid, GPAs, remedial classes and registration. I had to figure most things out on my own.
In pop culture there are these common thoughts about college life such as partying, dorm life, and pulling all-nighters. To tell you the truth, while these things may be true for a select few of the student population on campus, they may not be the same for you.
For starters, college is expensive, and sometimes the money we get awarded in financial aid is not enough. As students we are expected to pay for books, parking stickers, registration fees, insurance fees, legacy funds, computer lab fees, meal plans, and housing. There is even a fee in our tuition for the gym — whether we use it or not.
Most of the stress I have ever been under at school has more to do with paying for it rather than the academic parts. But I have to say you get what you pay for.
When commuting to school, it can be tough to want to stick around campus for anything other than that day’s classes. But it is well worth it. Just because you don’t get the full college experience because you live at home doesn’t mean you have to miss out on everything. On any given day there are organizations having different activities, giving away free stuff, and being genuinely friendly. Make time for these festivities. Make time between classes, work and studying. After all, you are paying for it. Look into different organizations that peak your interest. They will open so many doors for you or at least give you free food and new people to talk to.
As for classes, check out your professor on ratemyprofessor.com – it’s similar to Facebook-stalking but instead you’re collecting intel that can be crucial to your grade in the class. During class, try to take notes, ask questions, try to turn in everything on time, and engage in class discussions. You will get to know more people this way.
Some courses will be tough and you may struggle with the work. More than half the fees you pay for go towards tutors who are available on campus to help. Use these resources. And if the going gets tough, drop the class and try again later. Register for classes you would never think of trying such as ballet and world religions.
College will be nothing like what you expected it would be, but it will be what you make of it. Smile at people, take advantage of every opportunity, show up to class, try to have a positive attitude about everything, have fun, and get to know people and your campus. After all, four years goes by in the blink of an eye.
E-mail Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org