College Is Different Than High School

College Is Different Than High School

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


Cover Image Credit: Commons.wikimedia.org

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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I Chose A Major That Won't Make Me Millions, But I Would Not Want It Any Other Way

Because if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.

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As high school comes to a close, your parents, teachers and friends start to ask you what you want to do with your life. They tell you it's time to start deciding because you'll have to pick a major once you get to college.

Some people start their college career without declaring a major. Some choose a major, only to change it months, or even years, later. I went into college with a declared major. I may have changed my specific career a few times, but I have never changed my major.

I chose something that I was passionate about.

I chose something that I always enjoyed. I chose something that I knew I could make a career out of, while also knowing I can enjoy what I do because it is something I care about.

I may not have chosen to be a doctor or a lawyer. I may not be rolling around in money as an adult. I may not make a top-notch salary.

But money isn't the most important part of choosing a career.

I chose a career path that I knew I would enjoy. I didn't want to wake up every morning and dread having to go to work because I chose something just for the money it could bring me.

So, don't let anyone talk down on you for your chosen career. Every career out there has some kind of importance. Doctors, lawyers, salesmen, teachers, writers, first responders...you're all important and you all contribute to the building blocks of society.

My major may not lead me to make millions throughout my lifetime, but I will be doing something that I love. That is what is important.

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@jakkaiser/Instagram

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