Finding One’s Way Through College
She sits at her desk, looking at the calendar above her, feeling even more pressured than before. She opens her book as another wave of anxiety floods her.
The only sounds heard are shuffling of papers, squeaking from the radiator and the faint noise from the pencil writing. Elizabeth Levkovich, 19, a sophomore at Franklin and Marshall, a private liberal arts college in Lancaster, PA, focuses intently on studying for her final the following day.
Elizabeth addresses the many expectations, some were met, and some weren’t, that she had while entering her first year of college.
Graduating from an extremely prestigious NYC high school, Baccalaureate School of Global Education (BSGE), Elizabeth had already been prepared for the academic aspect of college, gaining her IB diploma. She was receiving a much more rigorous and stricter curriculum and grading, compared to other students.
Having faced this challenge from 7th grade all the way to her senior in high school, she did not fear this new chapter in her life. Elizabeth is the perfect example of a hard worker, who was thoroughly prepared for the type of work and circumstances that would come her way in college.
When students make the transition from high school to college, they only expect the educational approach to change and later, begin to realize the many personal changes that they aren’t necessarily prepared for.
“Being away from home was difficult in the beginning, I had to learn how to be on my own,” Elizabeth said.
One of the things that many high school graduates look forward to is the freedom that comes along with being a college student.
Ariana Georgescu, 18, a freshman, entering Binghamton University for the spring semester, enjoys her life in college more than she ever did in high school.
“You have control over the direction your life is heading in. Whereas, in high school, you often feel at times you’re taking meaningless classes that you may never use to get your degree in your major. Even as a freshman, I was able to create my own schedule where I only have school four times a week and take a lot of night classes,” states Ariana.
The feeling of knowing that the courses you are learning have meaning can really motivate students to do their work more efficiently and timely. Although, with freedom comes responsibility and independence.
College allows everyone to be on their own path, rather than in high school where the teachers have to follow a certain curriculum. Professors have many classes with a lot more students and they do not attend to your needs and accommodate for you, individually.
Kosta Kistios, 19, sophomore at LaGuardia Community College, speaks on the major differences between his college and high school experience.
“You cannot afford to fail. There are a lot fewer chances to mess up opportunities,” states Kosta.
Kosta went on to discuss the importance of noticing if you aren’t doing well in a class before it is too late.Only you know your full potential and capabilities.
“In order to be successful it’s crucial not to wait until the last minute to do an assignment. You have to be self disciplined and not rely on your professors,” adds Elizabeth.
These are essential qualities students need in life that only college can really teach. One learns quickly that you will not be successful if you rely on teachers to remind you of due dates.
When teenagers receive their acceptance letters for their dream schools and know what they want to major in, everything seems to be perfect. Many of them end up changing their major unexpectedly. This can be an extremely difficult decision and somewhat confusing as a young adult.
As human beings we often get attached to these ideas or thoughts in our heads. It is easy to believe that you have failed because you aren’t doing well in your major, but this might just be an indicator that your passion lies somewhere else.
“Since I wanted to be a plastic surgeon, I intended on becoming a biology major. I already had a feeling it would be hard and received a low grade in one of my major classes and failed another. At first doing poorly really discouraged me, but I had to realize that I didn’t want to do this anymore,” states Kosta.
Although this wasn’t the original plan for Kosta, he later, thought about his next step carefully and is now successful in all of his classes as he majors in industrial design.
As people grow and find themselves, their interests and passions constantly alter.
Elizabeth, who has always had a love for the subject of English, went into college undecided as she wanted to keep her options open.
“I went into college undecided and while trying to figure out my major, I took some general education courses,” she said. “Your whole life, you may have a plan of what career you want to pursue when you get older. Although, once you get into college, everything becomes so real as you start to realize whether or not your major and the whole experience has met your expectations. It’s different for each individual person.”
– by Evthoxia Zamagias ’19