Now that I have survived my first semester of college (and with meal points to spare!), it seems like I am due for a short reflection on the academic shift from high school to college. There are numerous aspects of college that are drastically different, but I want to focus on arguably the most important part of school: the classes.
College is much more high-intensity than high school, but in a positive way. My workload is not just busy work; gone are the days of mechanically answering multiple choice questions. Yes, I still fall asleep with papers spread around me, lights on and everything. However, it is much less painful to wake up next to a product I am proud of than to open my eyes defeated by geometry.
One of the big changes is that I control my schedule completely. I can tailor my courses to my interests (and to my sleep schedule!) Instead of struggling to make sense of chemistry and statistics, I can explore history, psychology, philosophy, and a range of other topics (if you can’t tell, I’m not a huge fan of math and science.) Feeling excitement about classes, as opposed to dread, makes all the difference.
My favorite class this semester was the class I took in the American Culture Studies Department: Freedom, Citizenship, and the Making of American Culture. I have taken an abundance of history classes before, as I am a little bit of a history nerd. I also went to a high school called The High School of American Studies, so U.S. history is in my brain the way that basic algebra is for most people (read: not me). I was both excited and hesitant about another history class in American history- would this be interesting, considering how many times I had learned about everything, from the American Revolution to the 1950s? It ended up being different from any history class I had ever taken. Taught through different perspectives than I had ever encountered, and with a focus on relevant topics in today’s world, it was worth getting up at 8:30 a.m. (and that’s how you know a class is good.)
That isn’t to say that I don’t branch out, though. This past semester, I enrolled in Microeconomics. It was an hour and a half long introductory course that met twice a week. I wish I could say that from that class I found my hidden passion for numbers and economics and graphs and calculus. I didn’t, though. Microeconomics confirmed that math is simply a foreign language to me. I struggled to decipher the textbook, and battled my way through the weekly practice problems. My friends are all too familiar with the sound of me complaining about price elasticity and monopolistic competition (some micro terms for you… just to show I learned something.) Despite the fact that I came away from that class pretty sure I will not be pursuing a degree in economics, I’m glad I took it. For me, college is about challenging myself. Even if I didn’t like it in the end, knowing that I pushed myself outside my comfort zone is rewarding.