Monday, March 11, 2013

Transition to Second Semester Can be Tough

By Gavin Roy
Transitioning from high school to college certainly isn't easy, at least not for most students. You're no longer living with your parents, which is both refreshing and intimidating. You have more freedom than you did in high school, but the coursework is tougher. Comprehension is valued over rote memorization. There's the pressure to get a job, which you may not have felt in high school. And of course, there's the decision of what major to select. However, there's also a difficult transition between the first and second semesters of freshman year, at least from the perspective of this blogger.

The first semester of freshman year is a warm up period. Students are getting acclimated to college life, making new friends and exploring different activities. Coursework usually isn't too difficult. Second semester is where things get serious. The pressures of college begin rearing their heads, and it can feel quite intimidating. There's a sensation of "sink-or-swim," catch up or you'll get left behind. Some students may not have fully adjusted to college, but everything suddenly seems more intense than it did before.

One particular challenge I've felt in transitioning between the first and second semesters of freshman year is the decision of my major, which is currently International Political Economy. A certain course has challenged my decision to stick with that major, and that is Intermediate Micro-Economics. I won't give away any details, but to say I'm struggling in Intermediate Micro would be an understatement. It's troubling when you can't keep up with a course that you're taking in just the second semester of your college career, and certainly a blow to one's self-confidence. 

I also scheduled three morning classes, having overestimated how much of a morning person I am. As such, I spend a lot of time feeling completely dazed because of my erratic sleep schedule. Balancing work with school is another frustration. Jobs and internships are important, but they're hard to manage when you're a full-time student. In fact, the biggest reason why I scheduled three morning classes is so I would have time for work in the afternoon.

Though it's been a challenging semester, it's also been a great learning experience, so here's my advice to incoming freshman. First of all, don't let one class ruin your decision about your major. If you like what you're studying, then keep pursuing it. If only one course is holding you back, get as much help as possible. Also, be careful with the morning classes. Even if you do have a job or an internship, three morning classes is pretty extreme. Don't push yourself that far if you know that you're not the type who likes getting up early. Take the safe route and go for the afternoon classes. If you have a job or an internship, remember that school still comes first. Schedule your work around school, not the other way around.

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