I was talking to my adviser today, planning for next semester’s courses and my major, balancing with extracurricular activities, etc . and she asked me what it’s been like being a freshmen, what I would tell high school students to expect that I didn’t. There’s so much that would be impossible to sum up in a few words, but here are some things, tricks and secrets, that I didn’t know were coming.
- They always try to get you to study in high school by saying, “You know, when you get to college, your professors aren’t going to care whether you do your homework or not, they’re just going to give you a grade.” This makes college professors sound so impersonal, and I’ve found them to be anything but. They’re more than willing to spend extra time with you, reviewing material or going over a test, or even just chatting. They really do want to get to know you, and they know who you are in class! Perhaps this is an exaggerated feature at Holy Cross, but it’s really such a genuine support system. They do care, and they want you to do well, and learn, not just to spit back answers on a test, but to take with you into the world and use.
- The boundaries between grade levels seem much more vague in college than they did in High School. Because classes are much less year based, and circle more around scheduling and interests, you find yourself with people wanting to learn the same things you do. There are always people in your class with more experience, or less, in the topics you’re learning. Besides that, the people in your classes have most likely taken and are currently taking classes that you haven’t, and so they can fill you in on what other courses are like, which teachers are preferred, etc.
- Orientation isn’t like the rest of college. While it’s a great way to meet people and get accustomed to your new surroundings, it’s much more structured than the rest of your time will be. They shuffle you around through activities that you look back on fondly, but once those few days are over, you’re really on your own to schedule everything, from when to wake up and go to bed to where to eat and spend your time. There’s a chance you won’t see half of your orientation group again for months except in passing. There are so many new people to meet!
- There will always be something to do. We receive 10 e-mails per hour for a reason-there’s so many activities going on! And chances are, a few things out of the hundreds that pass through the e-mail filter will interest you! Maybe it’s a concert, or a game, or a new club. Maybe it’s a discount at the bookstore and a survey.
- Secret time: I’ve only had to do my laundry twice all year. With so many breaks, spaced so nicely, I’ve been able to portion my clothing well enough that I just bring my laundry home. And I don’t know about you, but my parents are just so happy to have me home for a visit, that my heaps of laundry are a welcome sight to them. Note, this isn’t to say that the laundry system is in any way difficult. In fact it’s exceptionally convenient and easy to use.
I’ve found the overall attitude at college different than in High School. Maybe that is because of the people I’m surrounded by, all of whom chose to come to Holy Cross for a reason, and all interested in learning. As far as I’ve found from my months on campus, if you’re here, you want to be here. And that contributes so much to the atmosphere.
I hope all is well (and warm) for you!