Tips from an Orange County college tutor: The modern college experience: One size doesn’t fit all
College freshmen are now returning to their second semester of a brand new experience. Although each student will have a different situation and be studying different subjects, one commonality remains in that most students’ expectations were shattered. Students are often told stories by family members, older friends, and educators. However, it’s important to remember that was their experience, and this is your experience. If you feel like your transition to university life is not quite what you expected, or maybe not even what you wanted, it’s important to remember that in today’s educational world, one size simply doesn’t fit all and that’s absolutely okay – ask your private Orange County college tutor about their college experience.
1. The living situation
The living situation may not be as ideal as one would have thought, although most college students will have heard at least one horror story about the dorms and roommates. If this situation isn’t working out, there are several alternatives for modern students. Students can transfer out of the dorm (and probably save a lot of money doing so) and into student housing with a preferred roommate. In some cases, students can transfer to a different on-campus housing situation. What’s important is that freshmen have the opportunity to learn and enjoy their college experience, not that they can fit into a preconceived notion of college life (READ: “5 Things to do Before You Go Away to College”).
Oddly enough, freshman academics are probably the hardest of all four years. It’s important to remember that upperclassmen courses are taken by students who are specializing in that major. Advanced engineering is probably not incredibly hard for an aspiring engineer, and ancient Egyptian art history is probably easy enough for an art major. However, every single person has to take freshman English and math whether they’re good at it or not. It may be a relief to know that academics will usually get better after freshman year once students have had an opportunity to learn how to study like a college student, not a high school student. As long as freshmen can avoid academic probation, they’re on a good path.
3. Campus life
Campus life is one of the biggest variables among students. Someone at a giant urban university will have a very different campus experience than somebody on a small suburban campus. Regardless, it’s important for freshmen to experiment with different social aspects of campus life and see what works best for them as an individual. In addition to basic social clubs, there are also honor societies, clubs for people of a particular background, clubs focused on gender, volunteer and work experience, and individual research projects. Students are encouraged to visit as many clubs as they want just to try it out. At some point one or two will just feel right (READ: “Going Back to College: A Mature Student’s Checklist”).
4. Social life
In addition to broadening the campus experience, it’s important for students to have a healthy social life. Of course, this doesn’t mean partying all day every day, but it does mean making new friends and finding your place. There is a preconceived notion that students will simply show up on campus and make a dozen friends the first week since everybody is new. In reality, many students get dropped off the first week and don’t know one single soul. Over time, this can leave freshman feeling rather lonely and disconnected. Unfortunately, simply waiting for friends to make the effort may result in a lonely semester. Students who put themselves out there and form their own study groups, arrange their own weekend plans, and encourage their peers to get together will often be more socially successful.
The perceived glory of independence may be one of the biggest disappointments for college freshmen. Yes, students will be able to make their own schedule, go where they want when they want, and have little to no supervision. However, each decision comes with its own consequence. Students who stay up too late will still be tired in the morning. Students who skipped class will have a lower grade. And students who spend too much money will have massive debt to pay off. Independence is a great thing and should be enjoyed but it’s important to test those waters slowly and be able to take responsibility for one’s choices.
At the end of the day it’s important for students to remember that they don’t have to fit into a specific mold, rather they can mold their college experience to fit them. In order to do this they will have to be diligent, responsible, and use those critical thinking skills to brainstorm for new and exciting experiences.
Make the most out of your college experience with the help of one of TutorNerds’ experienced Orange County college tutors. Call us today for more information.