Transitioning to College

By John Houghton

The supposed “biggest change of your life” that you will ever experience is moving away
to college. Sure, everybody is excited or maybe slightly nervous to move away from mom and
dad. But as a senior in college, I’ve come to learn that the things everybody else talked about
fearfully, didn’t really bother me much in the long run. Yes, there is going to be a transition
phase. Like anything else you need some time to get comfortable in your new surroundings. But
most of the stereotypes and difficulties people had ingrained in me weren’t the most difficult
parts of college at all. All I ever heard was how difficult dorm life was and how crazy the parties
were. At times I can say I’ve experienced both to a magnitude. Luckily for me, my roommate
turned out to be a great friend. And I was able to juggle a social life and my studies, as crazy as
it was to the outside world.
Everybody is the first to tell you dorms and how hard college is going to be. But nobody
tells you how much freedom or opportunity is given to you when you get here. No longer are
teachers, parents, and coaches constantly nagging you about homework or grades. In most
scenarios, you’re parents will always care about your success. But nobody is here to give you
busy work or babysit you. Sometimes professors won’t even mention an assignment. It’s up to
you to keep up with you syllabi and turn assignments in. Not only that but to seek help when it
is needed. This is one of the biggest issues I faced as a freshmen straight out of high school. In
high school everything seemed to come easy. And for the most part, I think the level of
difficulty from high school to college isn’t all that different. The increase in the amount of work
is definitely something everybody can agree on any campus. There seems to be to about four
times the amount of information when preparing for an exam. This was something that
exacerbated my worst trait by far. And that was procrastination, no longer could I study an hour
for a test and receive an A or B. I learned the first ten seconds of receiving my first test in
college, and what seemed to be the first test I had really taken.
A New Learning Environment
Like others I too was an AP student, or Advanced Placement. I can personally tell you
every test I’ve ever had in college was not nearly as hard as the final AP test. But what I can tell
you is how much information was fit into a small amount of questions. It really made me reflect
on studying habits I hadn’t even really questioned before. I soon took it to heart to make sure I
was prepared well in advance for exam day. After my first few months in college, I was
reminded of something my mother had told me day in and day out for several years. The sad
part was that it took so long for me to finally find the true meaning of her wisdom. She always
said and still does, “Treat school like its your job”. I always thought it meant just completing
your work, but I soon realized that it meant putting all your effort into school. And by effort, I John Houghton
don’t mean just studying but being an active learner. It means to consistently pay attention,
take thorough notes, study a small portion everyday, and most importantly to ASK QUESTIONS.
You will never know unless you ask, this is not just crucial for class but also life. Whether it is in
your professional, academic or personal life. Asking the right questions may open doors in the
future.
Growing Up
Going to college isn’t all about your academics either. And don’t take that last statement
as an excuse to ignore your schoolwork. Obviously, the number one reason you are going to
college is for an education. And if it isn’t your main priority maybe you should reassess your
priorities. Or just tell your parents your wasting their money ahead of time and avoid a lot of
future arguments. What I mean by academics is not everything is that college is a time to
become a more well rounded person. Find your niche, explore new areas, and most importantly
mold yourself into the person you want to be. If that means joining multiple clubs, playing a
new instrument, or becoming a part of Greek Life. By all means, do what makes you happy. A
part of growing up is learning a little bit more about yourself. If you have a dream, now is the
time to get the ball rolling. Don’t even hesitate, and in this day in age their really isn’t an excuse
anymore.
Potential Careers
Right now you know what your hearts desire is, and if you don’t, you at least have an
idea of what that is. For me that dream is a career in sports, I can honestly say as a freshman I
was just as confused as anybody to make that dream a reality. Sometimes, its just as simple as
shooting somebody an email. People are willing to help you, as long as you ASK. Asking is first
step in almost any process of life. What to people look for a potential employee? Everything
I’ve experienced and heard from people in the field can be narrowed down to a few
characteristics. And those are experience, confidence, and personality. Clearly, there is more to
anybody than those three qualities. But if you really think about it, those seem like three strong
areas you would want a potential employee to excel in. If you have no experience, how are you
going to relate any of your skills to this new position? Everybody likes somebody is confident to
a degree. There is a fine line between confidence and cocky, and some of us toe the line.
Confidence is knowing your past experiences combined with your innate abilities you will find a
solution regardless of the situation. Being cocky is the act of being overly confident without
anything to back it up. Nobody wants to be around that person, but everybody can respect
somebody that has poise. Being put in an uncomfortable and foreign situation and being able to
handle yourself like you’ve been their before. And personality also plays a part in the hiring
process. Employers are going to hire somebody they see themselves getting along with. Face it, John Houghton
you are usually going to see co-workers more than family sometimes. It is important you are
personable and can carry yourself in a professional manner. Those are just a few tips I can give
you as a prospective college student. College is a new and exciting time, go ahead and make
experiences that you will always remember and will benefit you in the long run.

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