My Transition from High School to College
From Four Years to Another Four Years
Applying to college and getting accepted may seem like the stressful part as a senior in high school, but actually going through college is a rollercoaster ride for better or for worse. For four years, my high school teachers have been scaring their students, including me, about the intense work college has, especially at a university. Although I was a bit terrified, I pressed on, having my stubborn self believe that that was their nice way of saying that college is not for everyone and warning them in advance. In my sophomore year of high school, I have been successful so far, so I thought “The teacher must be exaggerating. There’s no way the whole grade is only based on the midterm and final.” Boy, was I wrong.
I have just finished my first year of university, and I can say that my first year has had its ups and downs. When I graduated high school, I made it a goal to change my entire personality. I used to be that one shy girl in the corner whose name no one remembered. I tried to be unnoticeable by sitting in the back corner of the room, but since my stature was small and my vision was not perfect, the teachers usually assigned me to sit in the front, making it a challenge to avoid eye contact when they were scouting the next victim to call on. I hardly spoke, and in middle school, I was known as “The Quiet Girl.” I was different than the others because of my height, squeaky voice, shyness, and sense of style. My height was below average, and although I was sometimes called "cute," due to my height combined with my voice, it got annoying after a while. I had trouble with talking to other people due to my horrific time in middle school, so I ended up becoming a person who had social anxiety and became shy. I always had trouble with fashion and finding my “right look.” I used to wear sweatpants and a hoodie to school everyday because I enjoyed comfort and did not understand how people can be both comfortable and stylish at the same time. It did not bother me as much until I got older. I was one of those late bloomers, as some people call it, because I did not start wearing makeup until my senior year of high school. I used to be proud of the fact that I was the only one in the class not wearing any makeup because it made me different, but I was teased by the immature boys in the class. Apparently, it was not socially acceptable to wear the natural look.
My university had an event called “Welcome Week” for the newly admitted freshmen, which was a week full of activities to meet people and get used to the campus and resources for success in college. At first, I was terrified. I had trouble with interacting with actual people in the past (dogs were okay), and I was panicking in the inside. What if I make a fool of myself? What if I come across as weird? What if I accidentally insult someone? Countless questions ran through my head as I was at home packing for my anxious trip for college. A week before I moved in, I went to Macy’s and bought two blue fedoras to change my look. I wanted to look more mature, and fedoras appealed to me when I browsed fashion magazines. I was never a hat person in school because the teachers always had a rule of not wearing hats in class. Since college had lecture halls, I figured no one would care. I also went to Plato’s Closet for some cheap and stylish thrift shopping. It is fine to look nice, but saving money in the process is even better. I also searched through my closet to find my most feminine and mature-looking clothes and filled my suitcase with everything I found acceptable.
In my room, I tried to practice altering my voice to make it deeper. My voice has always been squeaky, and people do not take me seriously because of it. It has been one of the reasons why I do not like talking, but adults talk, and I was an adult going to a school with fellow adults. Anyway, I whipped out my smartphone with the recording app and practiced saying my name and general sentences like “How’s the weather today?” or “Nice to meet you.” In the end, it was too much effort, so I gave up. I just convinced myself that that was something I cannot change easily, so I abandoned my task and slept.
Welcome Week was not as bad as I thought it would be. At first, I was conscious of my appearance. I wore jeggings, a plain elbow-length sleeved shirt, and my blue fedora with makeup on. When I arrived to campus, I noticed right away that many of the female students were not wearing any makeup and just sweats and a loose T-shirt. It looked as if I was the one out of fashion. I was not used to seeing that many girls not wearing makeup and not caring what they looked and felt sort of relieved. This was officially not high school anymore. This was college. Even so, I still felt wary of my weird and unusually awkward personality. I kept telling my conscious that I would not know anyone because I knew for a fact that the majority of the senior class from my high school either did not go to college, went to the nearby junior college, or a different college altogether. I convinced myself and became the outgoing gal that I planned to be. Although there were times when I was uncomfortable speaking up, I gave in and ended up being one of the loudest in my inner circle of new college friends. My university has separate dormitories scattered around campus, each with their own theme. My theme was involved with the advancement of technology, and the majority of my friends had similar or the same majors as me, which is Computer Science. It was refreshing to have friends from different places to talk to and share concerns and questions about my major, since we had the same classes for my freshman year.
Although my social life skyrocketed, my academic life unfortunately did not. I underestimated the difficulty of my classes and ended up not doing as well as I expected. I did not know if the problem was me or my professors, but my confidence that I built in the beginning of the school year depleted. I started to revert to the insecure and quiet young student from the past. I was officially stressing out in the winter quarter after my classes got significantly harder. My school has the quarter system, so ten weeks is one quarter. Winter quarter was when my academic life plummeted. I actually failed a class related to my major because of unnecessary decisions of spending too much time on one class and failing to pay attention to the other. I was only taking three classes, but my mistake was that all three classes were classes for my major. I ignored the countless warnings by advisors that taking more than two major classes at once was suicide. I thought I did fine in the fall quarter both academically and socially because I got along with my roommates, got a boyfriend for the first time, and passed all four of my classes.
My teachers from high school were right about only having two important tests, the midterm and final. I failed the midterm and studied my little arse off for the final but to no avail. Now, I am in summer classes retaking the class I failed plus some general education and major classes so I can have less of a workload for my sophomore, junior, and senior year. If I can go back and listen to my instructors and advisors, I would, but I have to say, despite the sudden change in environment from high school to college, I must confess that I do not regret meeting anyone. Within a year, I met people who liked me and embraced my awkwardness. I cannot be any prouder of choosing my university because of the countless friendly and hilarious people that made me feel like I fit in, and hopefully my next three years will be even more satisfying.