Thursday, November 15, 2012

College Ready

The prompt for this essay competition was this: 'How can all students entering college be college ready?'
Here was my response, partly taken from my 'Missing Home' post: 

I don’t think there is ever a right way to be ready for college. It takes a lot of time to adjust, and a lot of patience. I think everyone misses home at some point when they're in college, maybe more than once. I know a lot of college students who talk to their parents, siblings, or friends every day. Everyone will handle the change of moving away from home differently, but this is a change that everyone will go through in life. Sometimes it’s later on down the road, and other times, it’s right out of high school. How we adjust and how we make way for the change is what makes us different.  
I think most freshman are really excited to start college, to move into the dorms and make new friends, and leave behind their old high school life. It’s a fresh start, away from drama, and damaged relationships and friendships. It’s a new chapter in their life, something they’re proud of and happy to start. Once they move into the dorms and start trying to meet the demands of their classes and schedule, it starts to take its toll. Having to make all the decisions, keeping track of your account and expenses, and for many, a new job, can be exhausting. Now that they’re adults, they have to do everything themselves; do their own laundry, buy their own books, and deal with not having a lot of free time. Even if you may have had one or two college classes in high school, it’s still hard to add more and decide how to manage your time properly. Staying up late and waking up early won’t serve a purpose, and neither will procrastinating homework and studying. Some people may think they’re ready and that they’ll adjust quickly, and some students might be that way. But for others, it’s hard and exhausting; to always have to make plans around a full schedule and to never have enough time for your friends and family.  
We start missing home; our old lives, our friends, our family. I think it's normal and refreshing. When you think back to all those moments when you couldn't wait to get out of your town and couldn't wait to be out on your own, you realize that growing up is not all it's cracked up to be. You start wishing you could rewind time, where everything was easier and adulthood seemed so far away. You start feeling homesick because you miss what used to be. It's a whole lot easier when there's no responsibility and nothing to worry about. Most of us would rather spend our lives in that little bubble than take on being an adult. But at some point, we all grow up. We grow apart, we grow as people, we move on and let go of the past. It's life. It's what we're supposed to be doing. But we all feel, at some point, that nostalgia, that moment of total longing for the past. Most people wouldn't admit it to others that they want to go home, that they miss their parents, that they miss their town. I think that a lot of the kids who live in the dorms are the ones who'd had the most desire to leave; small-town kids who don't want small-town futures. If you ask a college student if they'd ever missed their parents while they were away, and they say no, it's probably a lie.
Being ready for college is an overstatement. Your parents can help you, by taking you to a Laundromat beforehand, getting your books with you, and moving you into the dorm. But after that, it’s all you. Having them for emotional support and advice is great, especially if the change has been really hard on you. You start to learn about yourself, and about what you can manage. You’ll learn the kind of friends you want in your life, and the people you should stay away from. You’ll figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life and what you want in your future. But until then, take a breath, and just be proud that you’re here, that you’re trying to do something with your life. Many people don’t even make it that far. Give yourself time and patience to adjust to the demands of college. After all, once you master those demands of being a first year college student, you’ll learn to appreciate it more.