Monday, April 23, 2012


Today's blog is going to be a little different from the norm, i really feel that i need to get a few emotions off of my chest regarding school. As most of you probably already know, I am currently working my way through college. I've got another year and a half until i can walk away with my programming degree which means next year is going to be my junior year. It's been a pretty fun and interesting experience thus far. However, i hear my step siblings complaining about having to wake up at comfortable hours with a good nights rest behind them to go to school with a set schedule and small amounts of homework. A lot of times they refuse to do it and push it off till the very last second, and it encouraged me to write a post regarding what people usually expect from college and what it really is.

Let me first start off by stating i made the mistake they made once before. My very first semester of college i just about failed every single class i had, because i approached the entire experience with the same mindset i had my senior year of high school. My senior year for me was a cakewalk. I had 9 classes when other seniors had 4 and all i had to do to pass them, essentially, was to show up and have a body temperature somewhere in the 90's. however, when in my first semester of college, i had already taken on a heavy load. 5 gen-ed credits right off the bat, i had Basic Accounting, Intermediate Algebra, Astronomy, Honors Writing 101, and History of the United States. Terrible line up. I was at school for 15 hours a day, got home, spent another 3 hours on homework and usually passed out on the table.

Sufficed to say i near-failed every class. The only class i had comfortably passed was Honors Writing. I think this mentality is not something you can teach to children, especially teenagers who are in that hormonal stage of their life. They're sure that no one else is right but them and as a wise friend once told me, sometimes people just have to go through the experience themselves to learn. I had to and i'm paying dearly for it now, as i slave hard at my classes, getting good grades and seeing very little movement in my GPA. I was warned about all of the expectations of college classes, but they were all the wrong expectations.

The stereotypical warnings for college classes are:
  1. Teachers don't care of you come to class or not
  2. If you come to class late, just quietly seat yourself. No one demands an explanation for your tardyness
  3. You will need to spend the same number of hours that you do in class doing homework for that class
And a few others that i'm probably missing here (if you know some, post them in the comments and i will add them). While all of those things are true, it's just the good side of college that they tend to emphasize. No one ever really went over the hardships of college with me which is why when i started my first semester, i thought it was okay to just stop going to class and only show up to turn in the homework. As i understood it, i knew all the lecture material, the teachers don't care of i go to class or not, so i didn't. Why waste my time at a lecture on a subject i already know when i could be at home playing WoW (yep, i played WoW back then)?so, i showed up at any time during class that i felt like showing up, usually closer to the end, and waited until the lecture was over then handed in my homework and left. Showed up for tests too, of course. Needless to say, at the end of the semester the teacher failed me and i didn't understand why. And that rough first semester where i barely pulled out over a 2.0, served as a big lesson to me.

Here are the tips and pointers i would have to new college students or high schoolers who are about to step into that life:
  1. READ THE SYLLABUS - This first one is the most crucial thing any college farer could do for themselves. No seriously. The fist thing i do whenever i go into a new class is i read the syllabus and figure out 1) what the grading scale looks like. 2) rules on attendance. 3) List of assignment due dates. With these 3 items you can begin to mold how you want to approach the class right there from the get-go. Now, if the teacher doesn't care about attendance and strictly says in their syllabus "attendance does not count for a grade", does that mean that you can simply not ever show up? yes. But should you do that? Absolutely not. The more interested you look about the class the more likely the teachers are to be lenient with you. Show up with a laptop, work on homework or projects from any of your classes during lectures you don't care about. Most of the time, if you glance up every so often, the teacher will think you're taking notes.
  2. LEARN YOUR LEARNING STYLE - Sounds funny at first but seriously, this is a must. You need to learn what types of classes you like and what type of classes you don't, and then you need to do your best to stick within that type of class. for instance, after a full year of college i learned very fast that i favored 100% online classes much more than i favored in-class classes. Simply because it gives me the freedom to work at my own pace. If i want to work 2 months ahead and then veg out and play video games for a month before i touch it again, i can. I hate in-class classes because the entire lecture format of those classes seems old, archaic and boring to me. If you choose class types that you favor, you'll naturally do better in all of the classes collectively. And it will be a much longer time to the point of burnout (a topic for another time) because you actually enjoy the type of learning that you're doing.
  3. ALWAYS GET YOUR HOMEWORK DONE ASAP - This one is the most crucial to take note of. As you get older, shit happens. You never know when that shit is going to happen, and if it gets in the way of you doing your homework at the last second, you're screwed and the teachers don't care. Unless you have a doctor's note saying you almost died, they'll refuse it or mark you down. So do yourself a favor and do the homework. If you know the material already, just go down the line on the work schedule that is usually attached to the Syllabus. The harder you choose to work early off, the easier you need to work later on.
All in all, if you approach college with half a brain, like i didn't, you should be perfectly fine. Even though i don't expect a lot of non-college faring readers to believe me until it's too late, can you blame me for trying? haha. In different news, i'm eagerly counting down the days until summer break as i have two exciting trips lined up for myself, I just wish the days would go by faster.

Do you have trips planned for the summer? have you been to college? If so, what do you think if the 3 tips i gave?

1 comment:

  1. Seriously, nice tips. I'm going to college in September, and it's a bit overwhelming.