Another month of my life has come and gone, however this one contained quite a few changes. The fact that I am now almost halfway through my first semester as a freshman in college is almost surreal. This experience has opened up my eyes to so many things that I was previously blinded to at my small, rural high school. There are parts that I love very much, and parts that personally, I am not a fan of.
I've learned so much this semester alone, it's incredible. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I have three classes that are all an hour long. Unfortunately, my first class on each of these days is my 8 a.m. calculus class. Yes, you heard that right. Math at eight o'clock in the morning. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to skip that class but in all honesty, it's not worth it. Skipping classes may seem "cool" or like a much better option than rolling out of bed at an ungodly hour, but professors notice more than you think. At a small school like Misericordia, the average class size is approximately 30 students. Professors get to know you. It's not that hard in a class that small. Even if they can't remember your name (which is understandable considering how many people they see in a day) they notice seats that are empty that usually aren't. College isn't only about the education you're paying (a lot!) for, it is about making professional connections. The professors aren't there to get you or to be a glorified babysitter. They aren't like all of the high school teachers tell you. They do care, they do want to know you, and they do make an effort to be more than just someone who spits information at you and then tests you on it. They want to help you and they want to see you succeed. Don't get me wrong, there are professors that are total clichés and do not care, but they are very few and far between.
Eight a.m. classes will forever be the bane of my existence. Getting up that early to go to a class that you really don't want to sit through is not ideal, but you have to do what you have to do. One thing that makes these classes a bit more bearable is the fact that you don't have 8 classes all jam-packed into one day. I'm currently taking 16 credits and the workload is full but not unbearable. However, if I were to have all of these classes in one day, I would be drowning. The fact that in college you're not overloaded each day is a huge help to your productivity. When there's a huge gap in your schedule, there's only so much you can do before you have to be at your next class, so why not just do work? Your friends can wait until all of your classes are over. That's how I've planned my social life for this first month and so far it's been incredibly effective. So for procrastinators like myself, trust me it's a godsend. Also, the fact that I can stay at the school even after my classes end, go to the library, and focus on my work while still on campus provides me with the opportunity to stay on top of my work while surrounded with useful resources if I were to get stuck on something. These gaps in your schedule are lifesavers. (How do you think I write these articles each week?)
Another factor of college that hit me in this first month was that there is so much more freedom here. In high school you were forced to stay in the same building for hours upon hours, with the same kids for hours upon hours. Here in college? After your class ends, you can leave. Like, get in your car and drive somewhere (if you're a commuter or have a car on campus). There's nothing here that's forcing you to stay. If you dorm, you can go take a nap or do homework in the library. There's no hall passes or sign out sheets, they actually treat you like the adult you've become. Enjoy it but show the insititution the same respect that they've given to you.
Overall, college has been a very eye-opening experience for me in this first month. It's difficult, the workload is heavier, but the opportunities they present you with in order for you to succeed takes some of the pressure off. I am so glad and grateful that I took advantage of the opportunity that was provided to me and decided to further my education. I wouldn't trade this for the world.