Making the transition: high school vs. college

Maria Nann

Differences, advice for making it count for the next 4+ years

Students don’t come to college just to get a diploma. At least, that’s what Lauren Pernetti said.

“Don’t think that having a piece of paper at the end is enough to get you a job,” the academic program coordinator said. “It’s what you do to support that piece of paper – internships, organizations, experiences – that help you to get your job.”

For incoming freshmen, college can be a time of adventure and excitement. It can be easy to get caught up living an independent life and forget what is really important, and sometimes just discovering what is important can be difficult enough.

Miranda Reed, sophomore communications studies major, advised incoming students to meet their professors.

“They will appreciate you taking the time to introduce yourself,” Reed said, adding that in large lecture classes, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. To really standout, Reed said, make the work for the work standout.

“Always leave yourself with enough time to get papers done,” she said. “All-nighters are not fun nor are they conducive to a productive learning environment.”

Bethany Schlotterer, sophomore business administration major, said the time difference between college and high school is something she appreciates.

“It’s nice because you get to choose when you work your best,” she said, “later in the evening or earlier in the day.”

Pernetti offered the following advice to freshmen trying to make the adjustment:

• “Pace yourself,” Pernetti said, adding students often find themselves getting behind on things, and it ends up breaking over them like a wave.

• Take friendships slowly, she said. The opportunities that present themselves in college are broad, and it’s best to take them all in.

• “Go to class,” Pernetti said. “If you go to class, you might find yourself not having to study quite as hard when the test comes around.”

• Talk to upperclassmen and professors, Pernetti said. Find someone to connect with who will listen and provide guidance.

• “Don’t be afraid to do some things that you’ve never done before,” she said. It’s important to be familiar with different organizations and students.

• “Be curious,” she said. “If you’re curious, that opens up a whole new world for you.”

• It’s also important to have a sense of learning style, Pernetti said. Everyone learns differently, which is important to helping make the most of classes and college.

• Pernetti said involvement is key to having a sense of belonging, which is crucial to enjoying a college career.

Reed also said it’s important to make sure students’ living situations suit them because it will affect their happiness.

“If you don’t like a roommate or you aren’t happy, don’t wait until the end of the year to make a change,” she said. “It will have a big effect on how much you enjoy school.”

According to the Office of Undergraduate Studies, the largest difference between college and high school is personal freedom.

“The difference between high school and college is that nobody is looking over your shoulder in college,” Pernetti said. “One needs to be independent.”

Schlotterer agreed and said with the freedom in college comes greater responsibility.

“It’s really easy to make excuses and not accomplish everything you need to,” she said. “So you really have to commit yourself to getting done what needs to be done. No one is going to hold your hand and tell you what to do.”

Contact principal reporter Maria Nann at [email protected].