I recently asked '14 GLHS graduate Noah Dennison to write a guest post on my blog about his first year in college. I thought the best way to send the Seniors out into the world was the same way they came into GLHS: with a Freshman Experience. Take it all in Seniors: #WeAreLions
As much as you may be academically prepared for college, with the help of great high school teachers and countless hours dedicated to your studies, or maybe your talent for guessing really well on multiple choice tests, one thing is certain: college is a different ball game. Sure, you'll more than likely take an entire schedule full of general education classes required by your school, but you've probably also heard that college professors are quite different. After all, how couldn’t they be?
Compare your class size of 20 to 30 students now and understand that some (but definitely not all) of your college class rosters will contain ten times that number of people. And when you think of the average student, you think of one of your friends, the kid that sits next to you in stats class, or someone like them. In college, literally anyone of any age group can be sitting next to you. This might not seem too crazy in writing, but imagine sitting down in a lecture hall for your first college English course as a 65-year-old woman takes the seat next to you. Her name was Marianne. She admitted to taking the class, "because it’s free for senior citizens to apply" and because she "wanted to be better at arguing with her husband." Towards the end of the course, as we approached American literature in the 1950's, she was able to actually give real life examples of similar themes from her childhood.
Really weird stuff will happen to you in and out of the classroom because, simply, college is a totally different arena. Because of all the crazy and typically very new stuff happening literally everywhere, you will definitely develop a sense of self-awareness like you've never had. By the time I finally moved out of my dorm, I actually felt like a different person. It's insane how differently you look at things like your family, home, and your friends after spending almost a full year in another place. That, of course, doesn't only apply to students leaving home, either.
There is a huge sense of independence found during freshman year. You start to realize that you can actually make real decisions on your own. Like, for example, when to file your state taxes, or even whether or not your 7:30 Biology lab is really all that important to you as a graphic design major.*
Going to college is a big step in a person's life. It definitely isn't something that should be taken for granted, especially if you're going to a state school (I mean, it's like $20,000 per year at the very least) and you should definitely try to go out of your comfort zone as much as possible to experience everything it has to offer. You'll learn a ton in your lectures and labs, but college is definitely not just inside the classroom.
*Go to classes, seriously. If you want a 1-Step Plan to failing a class: Don't Show Up.
GLHS Class of 2014