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Introduction to College

I’m alive and well, I swear! Schoolwork and other life issues have swamped me quite efficiently over these past couple of weeks; but I’m okay!

While searching for backpack recommendations on the Gentoo Off-The-Wall forums, I came to an interesting thread from a couple years ago entitled, Going to college. I’d like a How-to survive your first year.

I very much concur with just about every piece of advice in that thread; and it inspired me to expound on a lot of those tips as well as to add my own. For that purpose, I’ve decided to post them on this blog in a somewhat-regular [hopefully] fashion. On this vein, Welcome to the first-ever edition of my College Survival Guide!

Today, we’re going to discover one of the most important things about college life: College and High School are two totally and completely separate things.

Now, this may seem fairly obvious to many readers, as I can imagine they have already been through these experiences and know what I’m referring to; but there are those who still treat their studies as if it were really still not yet collegiate-level work. (Trust me; I’ve met a great many number of people like this.) For the majority of readers that believe this, it is something that doesn’t seem to be so incorrect at a glance: It’s just more school…why should it be any different?

The answer to that, of course, is quite simple: For most people, college is the first time in his or her life that one is on one’s own for so many things. Among many other reasons, it is this shift of responsibility to the student (from teachers, tutors, guardians, and others) that may be fairly overwhelming at first. More often than not, the student becomes responsible for not just the learning, but the homework, transportation, food, socialization, et al. Many of the things which had been simply given to the student or scheduled for him/her are now no longer done so. Instead, the student oversees his own education – from scheduling of one’s classes to preparing meals for oneself and – for better or worse – having far more control over one’s life.

Now, I know many (and myself am among those) who as college students still live with their parents and so much of this responsibility (for example, basic housework) is often not as drastically redistributed to the student. However, the responsibilities are still quite prevalent: especially of classwork and transportation. I still live with my parents, for example; but it is my responsibility – and mine alone – to ensure that I wake up and have a decent breakfast everyday. It is also mine to ensure that I get to class on time everyday: making sure I leave enough leeway in my scheduling to walk from my house to the bus stop as well as from the bus stop on campus to the classroom buildings (which, for my major courses, are almost on opposite sides of the campus, thank you very much whoever had THAT brilliant idea) as well as vice-versa when I return home. One can be living with their parents yes (which is probably a good idea for most beginning students, from a strictly economical perspective); but that should not imply that they are any less responsible for their own well-being.

Well, that’s about it for today. In the next issue of the College Survival Guide, we’ll discover some highly beneficial patterns in scheduling one’s classes. Join us next time for more tips and advice from the College Survival Guide!

  1. February 10th, 2009 at 19:16 | #1

    Don’t take 8 am classes πŸ˜‰
    Good write up. Can’t wait for the next one.

    • February 10th, 2009 at 21:59 | #2

      Well, not if they’re of the “necessary but boring” category. More on that in the next one though! πŸ™‚

  2. Frank
    February 16th, 2009 at 00:00 | #3

    Not a bad start, you’ve got a perspective on the “college experience” as a whole and it sounds like you’re taking the right approach towards it.

    I will disagree on one point, though — while living with their parents may make financial sense for many beginning students, it robs them of so much of the experience beyond classroom learning. THOSE lessons (the ones learned from living among peers, on your own, with nobody but yourselves and each other to rely on for everyday life-support) are some of the most important ones learned at college.

    If it’s at all possible, it’s a very GOOD idea to move out of home (and even move AWAY from home) for college.

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