We have only been back for about two weeks and I already feel that we are in full swing. What ever happened to syllabus week? Personally, I prefer not to waste time. I love to hit the ground running, especially this semester, because it means we are that much closer to the finish line!
It’s that time of year where I like to try extra hard to fill my blogs with good, hearty, helpful content. While I hope you get the feel of college life at ERAU by reading my blogs, I also want to leave you with something after you finish. Hopefully you can take at least one thing away from this long blog post!
This week, I wanted to answer a question I get asked a lot by incoming freshman/transfer students. It’s a question I had myself coming into college. First things first, I want to specify that ERAU is very different than any other college (or so I hear). Many of my friends who went to state schools have a very different experience than I do. This isn’t necessarily bad, but I want to make the specification that every college experience is different, especially between a private/public university and even more so at such a specialized college.
The question is: Is college hard?
As a forewarning: I am not trying to brag about anything. I work very hard and it took awhile to find the balance I have in college. That being said, I am still not perfect. Sometimes I have to take days off work to study and I don’t get an A on every assignment. I want to be real and help someone out and that is why I am sharing this information!
I was filled with fear that college would knock me off my feet. I graduated high school with above a 4.0 and I STILL was worried I’d fail out of college. Yet, here I am – thriving!
I am in my last semester, have a 4.0, work four jobs, and have leadership positions in multiple clubs/organizations. AND, I am able to have free time for myself pretty much every single night and every weekend. I travel, watch Netflix way too much, and go hang out with friends. You can have it all, I promise. Of course, this may vary by major. My engineering friends seem to have more homework, but I have more group meetings. It all really depends.
It takes time to learn your jam. My first semester of college was slow. I didn’t work and I only took 13 credits. If you plan on moving into your dorm and having life figured out after orientation, I would calm down a bit. We expect so much from ourselves and that can be unhealthy. Give yourself time to grow and adjust because many others are as well. I do this thing where I panic in the beginning of the semester thinking my classes are so hard, but by the third week I have learned they’re very manageable and it just seemed hard. I would recommend waiting to get a job until your second semester on campus, but join many organizations your first semester and weed out ones you feel are less valuable to you as the semester goes on. This ensure by spring that you will have only things you enjoy and find beneficial on your schedule.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Remind yourself that your friend in business is working 20 hours a week after class because their classes are different than yours. Or that your friend in engineering is not working or as involved as much because they have more homework than you. You are not the same person – your circumstances are completely different. College can be hard if you try to fit in and be this “perfect” person. Be yourself. Do things you are passionate about and it won’t feel overwhelming. You must make time for things that make you happy.
Choose what you want. If you want lots of spending money, get a job. If you want straight A’s, focus on that. If you want to be super social, join clubs. If you want to add to your resume, join a project. We forget that we get to choose what we do in college. It really helps to experiment and find what mix of the above get you what you want. If you know you take longer to complete assignments or study, maybe consider working only a few hours at an on-campus job that allows you to do homework. I had to quit clubs I liked because I knew they were taking too much of my studying times. I only work a couple hours at each job in order to have time to take on leadership positions in my clubs.
Go to class. Some people don’t and I know some schools allow this. Embry-Riddle does not. Almost every single one of my professors in college has taken attendance. You can’t even be tardy. My personal opinion is if you pay to come to school, you should actually go. Every class is fast-paced and beneficial. There is never just busy work. Missing a day at ERAU is not like “oh well” but rather you will find yourself in office hours trying to catch up. Please just go to class. Please.
There is not a class that is impossible to pass. There are so many resources available to students to not just pass, but get A’s. Go to every office hour if you must. Email your professor. Hang out in the tutoring center to do your homework and study. Some classes are harder than others, so you may have to adjust your extracurricular and work schedule according to your classes. If you have a hard physics class, allot time for you to get the help you need. Maybe cut your number of work hours in half or go on a semester-leave for a club. You are a student first. I truly believe if you try hard enough, you will succeed.
TIP: I don’t take notes on my laptop anymore because I found myself getting distracted. I would jump from notes to sending and email to notes to filling out some paperwork I needed to do. Learn from me – it’s easier to pay attention in class and learn than it is to try to teach yourself with the PowerPoints posted online (yeah, college professors usually post their slides online – it’s super nice). This will help when you go to study because you will have already learned it once. I think I realized this when I was learning so much in my one class that didn’t allow laptops out.
I hope this helps whoever is worried out there. I promise it’ll all be good. You can do this! ~ Maddie