With May’s fast approach, the seniors are scrambling to get ready for college. So why not hear from those who have been in their shoes? A survey was sent out to teachers to see what light they could shed on the topic.
A big question all students ask is, “What college should I go to-- a community college, a university, or a technical school?” In the survey, teachers reported going to many different types of colleges. Some went straight into a university-- such as Indiana University or Stephens College-- while others started in community colleges, working their way up. Like Mrs. Laune, she began at East Central College (ECC), later moving on to other colleges-- such as Southwest Missouri State (Missouri State University), University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Missouri Baptist University. This may be comforting to indecisive students, because even our teachers traveled a variety of college paths while still coming to a career they are happy in.
Once you decide what college you are going to, you then have the ideal vision of how your college experiences will play out. Some teachers depicted their experiences fairly well.
Although Mrs. McCroskey thought college “would be like the movies-- loud and colorful and exciting,” her vision ended up being surprisingly accurate.
Mrs. McCroskey described: “Indiana University is a classic college town with an archetypal, sprawling campus look, so I felt like I fell into the movie Hoosiers.”
On the other hand, some teachers didn’t picture their college journey quite right.
Mrs. Koch explained, “I did not think college would be as challenging as it actually was. In high school I assumed college was just a continuation of the things you learn in high school... boy, was I wrong!”
Mrs. Laune thought she “would only attend ECC and not go away for college.”
Luckily, however, she was able to continue her education. Mrs. Laune quoted, “I had no idea it would be so hard. I had very little financial support, I worked three jobs and took 19 hours a semester. I had no idea how quickly my college debt would add up and then after I graduated how long it would take me to pay it off.”
Scholarships are one of the biggest worries among students. When teachers were asked how many scholarships they hoped to receive, the majority of them knew they would at least get a minimal amount. However some expected to receive none.
When it came to the amount of scholarships they actually received, some earned what they intended to, while others didn’t. Let this be a lesson to students planning on going into college-- plan ahead, you never know if you’ll get the scholarships you applied for.
Looking back on their college careers, many teachers learned some very important life lessons, including the following:
“There were many life lessons throughout college that I encountered,” Mrs. Laune began to share. “The biggest lesson I learned was how to manage money. I did not have much money at all during college. I was broke. There was no eating out, grabbing a bite somewhere, or treating myself to an ice cream. I used all the money I received from my jobs to pay utilities at my apartment. Although, this was a huge life lesson for me, I would not change the experience at all. I respect my parents tremendously for not handing everything to me and that I learned the value of hard work, and it has shaped me into the person I am today.”
Mrs. Koch explained, “I learned how to manage my time, prioritize, and multitask. When you have more than one college class paper or year-end project to do at the same time you have to utilize priority, time management, and the ability to multitask.”
Mrs. McCroskey described her biggest life lesson as well: “That I don't need 10,000 friends in my life-- sounds depressing, but it's not. What I mean is that I learned to keep my few close friends really tight and forget about the rest. Besides the few who I loved, I learned to sluff off the extra fluff in my life that I didn't need. [I came to this realization because] living in a sorority could be a challenge. We lived in a house of 100 girls, and there were lots of cat fights. But my close friends and I (who aren't like that) just learned to stay out of it, and it made our lives so much easier and more fun.”
When asked about some of their most memorable moments in college, most of the teachers told of hard work and friendship.
“Once while studying for exams, my friend, Laura, and I,” Mrs. McCroskey began, “felt suddenly so restless and cooped up that we just burst out of the house in our PJs and went running across the street to an empty athletic field. We climbed the fence (I ripped my pants in the process) and-- I can't put it any more simply-- we just frolicked in the field for a while. Just sprinted around in circles together for no reason. And even though it's a stupid, tiny memory, it's such a happy one. It was such a real, unfiltered few minutes-- we wanted to go run around outside, so we did. And it was weird and funny and wonderful. So my advice would be to use college as a time for things like that. Be weird, be whatever you want to be, do whatever you feel like doing (within reason)!”
Mrs. Koch explained, “I feel that what kept me motivated in college was a sense of familiarity. College is such a different experience than high school... you are far away from home, introduced to new surroundings, new people, new everything. I think that if students go away from home they need to be involved in something that they can relate to and is not new to them; whether that be a friend from home to see on a regular basis, or an activity like band to be involved in, etc.”
Mrs. Laune shared that “although, college had many hard life lessons, [she] also had many great times and built lasting friendships along the way. [She is] so pleased with the education that [she] received at all colleges. [She] loved learning new material and ways to apply these items in [her] life.”
As you can see, college is different for everyone. However, with the advice from people who have been there, anyone can make college a great experience. Seniors, listen to what our teachers here at NHHS have to say; they can lead you on a path of success.