Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A month into college, how are those sea legs?


Going from high school to college is one of the biggest life changes I have encountered. You go from having almost eight hours straight of classes Monday through Friday, from early in the morning until about 3 p.m., to classes scattered throughout the day with plenty of free time in between.

After four years, you have finally mastered the routine of going to bed at just the right time where you won’t be too miserable in the morning and getting up when you have just the right amount of time to eat, get dressed and do some last minute homework you’ve been putting off for the past week.
College throws you for a loop the first day of class and the semester following.

Like I said before, in high school you had a constant routine but in college, well, that’s a whole different story. My freshmen courses were from anywhere between an 8 a.m. class on Monday, a 1 p.m. class on Tuesday and a 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. class on Thursday, where does a routine come in?

You will also find that you have so much spare time on your hands! In high school, you were in class for eight hours straight, what do you do with yourself? This is where you start to make some friends and get to know your roommate. A few weeks before I left for college, I got into contact with my future roommate who I have never met before.

We discussed who was bringing what, what were her likes and dislikes, and how we would decorate our room. It seemed like everything was going to work out and we were going to be great friends! The day we moved in, we hugged and laughed like we have been friends for years.

After we got our room decorated the way we both liked, we started to compare schedules, they were the same except for one class! In my head, this was the ideal situation, I had someone to get lost walking to classes with and a convenient and fun study partner.

During the first couple of days before classes start is where you really start to get to know the people in your hallway. People will pile into rooms or gather on the floor of the hallways and talk until about 3 a.m. Who wants to get sleep when you have so many new faces to talk to and no parents to tell you it’s time to go to bed?

This is where you learn about other peoples’ life styles, where they come from and if you might become friends with this person. Early on I found out that becoming friends with your CA or older students in your hall is very important.

Every CA has to create a “program” for the students on campus to help people get to know each other or to inform students of what else you can do on campus. My CA had a program where we all had to go see a magician in the Kehr Union Ballroom, and it was the coolest thing I have ever seen. Before attending that program, I had no idea what was in the Kehr Union and that events like that even happened at Bloomsburg.

The person that was running the event lived in our hallway and made sure that we had front row seats! That was the beginning of my involvement in Program Board. It was a great start of college before classes and homework and it relieved some stress of not living at home.

I don’t know about you but for me, high school made me terrified for college courses. They would tell me that the books were extremely heavy, the professors didn’t care if you passed or failed their classes, and that you would have piles of homework and 20 page papers to do every week. I found this to be mostly a myth.

Yes, sometimes the books that you have to buy can get rather large but most of the time, the professor doesn’t care if you bring the book or not, sometimes, you never even use the book. Most likely, the classes that you were placed in are general education classes and if you already know what you want to major in, this can be super frustrating. Even if you haven’t declared a major, you don’t have a choice in the classes you want to take for your first semester and maybe chemistry, for example, isn’t your strong suit. I was put into a Chemistry 101 class my first semester and did horribly.

Don’t get me wrong! I did great in chemistry when I was in high school but of course we had to sew together little moles to look like the element we chose from the periodic table and do a report on it…big difference. In Chem 101 we had to balance equations and study all of the elements on the periodic table. That class was a struggle for me.

On the other hand, I had a Principles of Cultural Anthropology class that was amazing! The course content was very interesting but what really got me, was the anthropology professor. He had traveled all over the world visiting different cultures and studying them. He treated us as equals and obviously loved his job. Even though you were in a classroom of about 200 students, he made you feel like you were the only one in the room that he was telling his adventures to.

Now don’t panic! The school didn’t lie to you when they said they have a small ratio of faculty to students, because they do. Your general education courses will be much larger because the demand for the class is very large.

For example, almost every single major on campus needs to take a psychology class and therefore more people need to take that class which will equal a larger classroom size. Once you get into the classes that a geared toward your major, the class size will dwindle. I am currently taking a class that has eight people in it.

Even if you have a very large class, make it a habit to visit your professors during their office hours even if you don’t have any questions. Professors do care that you do well in their class and they truly want you to succeed during your years at Bloomsburg and beyond. You never know when you may need a reference letter or 0.10 of a point to make it to Dean’s list. If they see that you are trying your best and are putting your time and effort in, they are more than likely to help you either study for the final, or give you an extra credit assignment.

All in all, freshmen year will be terrifying for some and a breeze for others. Just know that you have people around you going through the same experience or have already been through it. Take the time to make friends and get to know your campus and professors.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you might think it’s stupid, chances are, there are many other people with the exact same question but are too afraid to ask. Enjoy the time that you have here and make the most of it because it will go by faster than you can imagine.

— Chelsea Underhill, senior marketing major #HuskyLife

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