College is Not High School: Perception vs. Reality

As a student in high school, I don’t think I realized how much of a different playing filed college would be. I definitely felt prepared to transition into college because I felt like I had a lot of support from my teachers, peers, and family. But you can’t really know what something is like without going through that experience. Here are some of the ways that my perception of college has changed over time.

Most if not all of the students in my high school were first generation students. With this in mind, my peers and I were extremely blessed to have the support we received from our teachers during the time we were applying to schools. My teachers were also very helpful in making college accessible for students that were undocumented, like myself. To any high school student now, I would urge you to let your teachers get to know you more. Build good relationships with them and always ask questions because more likely then not they have already gone through a similar situation you are going through or might have an idea of how to support you. In college this can be a little different, specially if you are attending a large public school. Some of my teachers don’t really know me because classes are still kind of large, ranging from 100- 300 students. The classes where I try to really get to know my teachers are my major specific classes. It still is a little terrifying to talk to some of the professors but at the end of the day you do not want to have lingering questions, so it is better to reach out whenever you need. The more your professors see you around the more likely they will remember you.

Going into a large public university that is extremely diverse didn’t feel as terrifying as is it sounded at first because I knew that some of my peers would be attending that same university with me. Of course now as juniors in college it gets challenging to keep up with each other. This is one of the good things that came with staying close to home instead of moving away to a different state. It is comforting to walk on campus and be able to recognize other students. I still find myself in classes sometimes where I don’t necessity know the person next to me. But I try to find places on campus where I can relate to other students and feel comfortable. I would encourage you to do the same because you will feel more comfortable asking questions.

One aspect of college life that I am still adapting to is taking online classes. Yes, online classes exist. I have never taken more in time in college than I am taking this semester. The good thing about online classes is that you do not have to show up to class. The bad thing is also that you do not have show up to class. Ultimately, if you decide that taking online classes is an option for you, it is helpful to really know due dates and assignment information as soon as possible. Another aspect of college that I am also balancing is my work schedule. Its only been 5 weeks since school started, but it is best to deal with time managing as soon as you see it becoming an issue. Outside of school, there are legal matters that are affecting the Undocumented community that I am a part of. These are some of the things that have happened most recently that I am learning to adapt to. Non the less I understand the value of my education to me and my family, and I am motivated to persist through any situation that I am put through.