College Is Different Than High School

College Is Different Than High School

You're so sick of hearing it, but it is so true.

It's December. Half of the school year is over and you only have so much time left to enjoy your last few months of High School. The football games are over and you already attended your last homecoming dance. You're looking forward to prom and gradation, but what about after Graduation? What are you going to do? Have you complete your college applications? Picked a major? Visited the schools you want to attend? There's so much to do!

As someone nearing the end of her college career, of the most common things we heard when we were in high school was that "college is different than high school." And as a junior or senior in high school, it's honestly the last thing you want to hear. You're going through this process of making these huge decisions that 17 and 18 year olds are not ready to make. Trying to pick a major that you're going to be happy with so you don't have to change it four times! Trying to decide if you want to move away from home, trying to decide how you'll financially be able to pull everything off.

No matter how much you prepare and plan, you're never truly ready for that transition. Your senior year, you want to enjoy your last year with your friends before "real life" starts. What's even worse is if you're someone who honestly has no idea what you want to do with your life. You just can't seem to decide what you want to do and what your plan is.

Your last year of high school can be filled with all of this pressure with what comes next and so I'm going to tell you what comes next. But I'm also going to tell you about how college really is different than high school.

When I was in high school I was exactly where you are. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I didn’t know the process of applying to college or who I needed to talk to. I didn’t understand financial aid or the difference between tuition and loans. In high school, I played soccer and softball, was voted Most Outgoing, and was nominated for Prom Queen. I was an average student and had great relationships with my teachers. School was much more social for me than it was educational.

I didn't have any kind of plan for what I wanted to do next. So I didn't do anything. I didn't stress over my SAT's, I never visited or applied to any colleges. I simply just told myself I deserved a break and wasn't ready to make such big decisions.

You're probably thinking "OMG this girl is crazy!" And you're right. It was pretty crazy of me. But looking back now I don't regret a single thing. I spent two years working three jobs before I made the decision to go back to college.

I have plenty of advice to give on the college process. After two years of being out of school, three years at community college and a year and a half away from receiving my bachelors degree and I'm simply going to tell you this,

College is different than high school.

I wish I would have believed everyone who told me that. It is such a different environment and nothing like how you expect it to be. Even as a commuter I find something new that I love every day. Maybe that love comes from taking the time off, but I truly love college.

The professors are different, your classmates are different, and there is so many ways to get involved. No one will judge you for sleeping in your car or for wearing pajama pants to class. Most people are super willing to help you out and are are really understanding.

Sure, some people are there to slack off and they don't want to be there. But the college experience is what you make it and if you spend time with people you like and study hard, all of this pressure you're under now will be so worth it.

When you're there, get involved! Go to sporting events, join clubs, and do all of the little fun things they plan on campus because you're paying all this money to go there, so you might as well enjoy it!

Make friends with a lot of people! Spending time with people who are different than you will change your life! It is also during this time that you learn more about yourself and figure out they type of person you're meant to be! It is a time for new beginnings, self exploration, and just learning in general! it is your first step towards adulthood and while that may scare you, you'll find that it starts to come naturally!

While I'm writing this to talk about college, I want to say another important thing. While I love college, it may not be for everyone! So please don't even be discouraged with the path you choose to take. Maybe you'll take some time off like I did. Or maybe you have a great job lined up already! Maybe you'll go to a trade school or join the Military! Do whatever it is that makes your heart happy and do not give up! And never forget there is no shame in changing your path or deciding to go back to school later on in life!

So as you're going though your last year of "being a kid" remember these things. Always keep your head up and push through, even if its 3AM and you have two more pages of that 13 page research paper to write. Always strive for greatness and do the very best you can! Your GPA is important but not as important at your sanity, so take a study break and go to the movies with your friends. Most importantly enjoy yourself and remember how you'll look back on these years and how you'll be so proud of yourself!

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation and good luck with whatever you choose to do!

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Being A Leader Can Be A Double-Edged Sword

Leadership experience is key, however, with it, you have to be able to roll with the punches.

“What kind of leadership experience do you have? Do you plan on taking on leadership roles in the future?” I feel like leadership is a word you cannot avoid anymore and these are just some of the questions that students face on a regular basis.

In this day and age, college students have faced an extreme pressure to get involved on campus, gain leadership experience and then translate those things onto a resume. In the last year, I have held different leadership roles within a couple different organizations and it has really opened my eyes to the positive and negative sides to them.

Gaining leadership skills is imperative in order to be successful in the workforce, hopefully, in writing this I will be able to shed light on the positive aspects while preparing readers for the possible hardships that can come.

Being a leader can be so fun! Within any organization, there are so many different leadership roles you can take on, and I highly suggest you do. Take on whichever role really speaks to you and your character. The more you feel you relate to the requirements of the position the better you will understand and value it. That’s the exciting part! You learn so much, get to grow as a person, doing something you’re passionate about, while also leading others and giving yourself to something bigger.

Some other really great aspects are the tools that the role can offer you. You all of a sudden gain access to people, technology, and opportunities you would not otherwise have had. You learn how to communicate with people that you may not have otherwise crossed paths with, you learn how to feel compassion for those same people, these things learned on top of basic organizational skills and public speaking skills. When given the title you automatically become the go-to person for that thing and over time, given the effort you put in, master it, which is truly an accomplishment.

Leadership, in general, can and will test most if not every aspect of you as a person.

The knowledge you have of your position will be tested, but even further it will test the strength you have as a human. Being the leader means owning up to your mistakes. Every. Single. Time. It means that you get to fulfill all of the fun parts of the job, but also the not-so-fun parts. Your leadership position can and will make you question yourself as a person and what you stand for. This is something I had no idea would happen, and frankly, I was not ready to have to do that.

However, just like with most things, I did it and learned more about who I am.

Something else that is important to remember about these roles, is that when things go wrong, you and the other leaders, will be the fall guy. When something happens that those in your organization do not agree with, whether it be organizationally sanctioned or not, those members will look for someone to blame. That in and of itself is something we as people will always do, and it may not always be the right way to approach the situation, however, it does happen.

Just like any good leader, when things don’t happen the way they were supposed to, that person not only takes the emotional hit that comes with it, but they also have to take the heat from those in the group that do not agree with what happened.

Experiences such as those are the ones that will make any leader question if they are truly fit for doing so. In the end, that leader will learn, grow, and hopefully change, in order to keep the best interests of the whole group in mind.

Taking on leadership roles, will for most people be inevitable.

There is so much a person can learn about themselves and others when doing so. In the last year, I have held several different leadership roles within different organizations and it has really opened my eyes to what leaders face every day whether it be on a small or large scale. Gaining leadership skills is key to being successful in the workforce, and hopefully, in putting my experiences into writing I have taught readers that you should pursue every opportunity afforded you in the realm of leadership, but that it takes a strong person willing to adapt and grow.

Cover Image Credit: Ian Schneider

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30 Thoughts You Probably Had During The First Day Of Classes

It's all fun and games until you have to go back to class

One of the greatest joys in life is finally heading back to college after break. While it is accompanied with some sadness of leaving your family, pets and bed, it is made up for with college friends, independence and just the general greatness of college life. However, actually going to classes is another story. Here are 30 thoughts you probably had while getting adjusted to the first day of class.

1. *Alarm goes off* Is it really time to get up?

2. I forgot how much it sucked to have community bathrooms

3. Should I dress nicely?

4. What is everyone else wearing?

5. I don't even know where my classes are

6. Am I in the right room?

7. I sorta know that person. Should I sit next to them or is that weird?

8. How are we already on lesson one?!!??!

9. What happened to syllabus week???

10. I already have homework??

11. This is not what I signed up for

12. Okay, it is but still! I wasn't ready for this

13. I wonder if anyone else has lunch right now

14. Why are all my friends in class

15. I guess I'll eat lunch alone

16. Oh good, people I know!!!

17. Why am I already sick of the food here it has only been one day

18. Time for my class! Yay!

19. *repeat thoughts six through 12*

20. Finally done for the day!!!

21. Should I go to the gym or nap?

22. Maybe I'll be productive

23. Or just hang out with friends and do nothing because I don't have that much work yet

24. It was only the first day and I'm exhausted

25. At least I get to pick what time to eat dinner!

26. Why are there so many club meetings

27. Back to the communal showers!

28. I miss my big bed

29. I wonder if my pet misses me yet

30. Can't wait to do this all again tomorrow!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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