Knowing when to throw in the towel
So you’ve just graduated and are now looking forward to enjoy a long summer vacation before starting your “exciting” college career. Little do you know that college changes a person, and once you step out of that minor league-high school gymnasium clutching a framed piece of paper and walk under the giant arches in St. Louis, you officially enter the realm of life.
I was once like you, happy to be out high school where things didn’t seem as if they mattered anymore. However, as summer vacation dragged on while I planted myself in front of the TV with my friends, I felt a nagging feeling that I should be doing more before college devoured my life. I pushed that feeling aside and continued watching endless Bond marathons on Spike. In retrospect, I realize that college does take up much of your time, and summers in between semesters are meant for productive things like research and classes (have fun). I’m not saying you have to do either of those before you start your college experience, but do something right now that will enrich your life and make you a wholesome individual. Travel, participate in interesting local events – in short, get out there and enjoy yourself before college.
After summer will come move-in and orientation week. During this period of time, you will see the true character of most of your peers. Excited, noob-ish freshman will be doing either of two things during orientation week: going to parties or deciding whether to read ahead for class or to go to a party. No advice shall be given here, but either option will result in painful memories. After a few weeks, real coursework and college life sets in, placing freshman in deer-in-headlights situations. For me, high school work was never a strenuous activity, but during freshman year I had to read over a hundred pages every night just to keep up.
However, the most crushing blows come when you study for nights in a row and still get that B-minus on a test. Face it, in high school B-minuses came rarely and those A’s were handed out like candy. Throughout your college experience, there will always be a class or a test that you will struggle for and still not get the grade you thought you’d get. At that point, you must realize that this is real life: and the road is going to be bumpy.
You’ve heard the rest from the endless sources of advice given by those who are in college, so all I need to say is this: enjoy your last truly free summer. I write to you from summer classes at Wash. U., and for those freshmen who already started playing the college game, my condolences. There’s always summer after senior year college. This transition between high school and college throws you head first into life (albeit, a somewhat sheltered life), and you must learn to plant your feet firmly when you land.