Update: Freshman Experience

Did my experience in high school prepare me for my first year of college?
My answer is most definitely.

My high school experience involved taking many rigorous classes. I took many Advanced Placement classes with the mindset of receiving credit for college, which would allow me to speed the process of achieving my bachelor’s degree or make room for other classes I would be interested in taking. Although I did not receive credit for all of my exams, I did gain experience of dealing with challenging classes that pushed my brain power, challenged my time management skills, and pressured me to cope with stress.

I was also involved in many clubs.  I was involved in community service clubs such as Key Club and the National Honors Society. I was also involved in cultural clubs, academic clubs, and career specific clubs. Becoming a secretary in Key Club and Art Club left a major impact my senior year. I was able to develop communication and leadership skills as well as interact with my peers, teachers, and community. I became more open minded to different types of backgrounds people came from and the ideas that they carried. On top of these clubs, I played the violin and took part in the School Orchestra and Symphony for about 9 years since 4th grade.

I highly suggest that students should take some challenging courses and be involved in clubs during high school.

Freshman Year, was a year filled with many new experiences. 

Decision:

All the colleges I applied to were in-state universities. I only applied to in-state schools since I knew that a great majority of my tuition, books, and housing fees would be paid by scholarships and grants. I am currently attending a large, four-year in-state public university. It is not a prestigious university, but it still has a good Pre-Med program to prepare me for Med School while meeting my financial window. Looking back now, I regret not applying to out-of-state universities. If you’re a high school student, you should definitely apply to a variety of universities: in-state and out-of-state and high ranking/prestigious schools and safe schools. You never know what opportunities you may find!

Distance:

My uni is located in another city, which allows me to live in a new environment, but close enough that I can return home in a couple of hours if I needed to. I have more freedom than I have ever had, and I could finally breathe without my family pressuring me. With none of my best friends and family by my side, I have learned more things about myself. I learned my strengths such as being independent as well as my weaknesses such as being unaware of my surroundings.

Dorms:

The dorms were more clean than what I had expected. I never saw any ants or roaches. Occasionally, I would find flying insects such as moths, butterflies, and fireflies.   I lived on a scholar themed floor which focused on an environment that is study friendly. There was a large study room and lounge area on my floor. Trash could easily be shot down 12 floors (amazing), and security was pretty decent (both a card and key were required to get in). On the other hand, it was still pretty noisy past quiet time. The walls were thin, so every word and door shutting could be heard and felt.

When I first moved in, I noticed that everyone practically kept to themselves. There were no introductions, no waves, no smiles. You go through Point A: the Security Door to Point B: Your Room.

My RA was sweet. She decorated the whole floor with her DIY watercolor and posters to fit our “Under the Sea” Disney theme. On holidays, she would prepare small treats and leave them outside of our doors.

My room that I shared with my roommate had a bathroom that connected to my suitemates’ room. I was lucky to pair up with one of my high school friends to be my roommate. My roommate and I are both pursuing medicine so both of us are pretty much germaphobes. The two of us had to keep the bathroom in check. Often, bathroom schedules (the four of us) conflicted with one another. There was one suitemate that I didn’t particularly got along with. But that aside, I liked the convenience of a private bathroom in my dorm when I needed it.

My dorm room was 11′ x 16′.  It was crammed for two people. The beds were extremely, extremely squeaky and was as hard as a rock.  I wish that freshmen were not required to live in the dorms. The dorms are too expensive compared to the nearby luxury apartments. Some positive aspects of living in the dorm was that all the dining halls and classes are within walking distance. However, for the amount that students have to pay, I do not think the pricing was fair.

There was a couple of gas leaks, a few small fires, and disturbances in my building. I lived in one of the very top floors so I was always upset when my floor was one of the last to receive announcements to evacuate (every time). At one point, I just left the building when I smelled the smoke.

Laundry was provided in the basement. Each student is able to wash/dry 4 cycles per week. Laundry was very nice in that students do not have to worry about preparing coins and laundry costs on top of tuition and housing fees. On a side note, with a large number of students living in the dorms, it was hard to find a time when people were not doing laundry.

My building had a small shop that was basically a convenience store. This was a plus for when I did not want to head outside to grab a bite,especially during raining/snowing weather. There was a great variety of snacks so I was almost never hungry when studying at night.

Internet was provided with our housing. The internet was pretty decent. However, our wifi sometimes shut off or were extremely slow to work with.

Food:

At my Uni, all freshman students meal plans were linked with their housing. The pricing of the meals were expensive and the restaurants were mainly American/European food. I have to say that I’m tired of American food. Fast food was everywhere. And I miss eating healthy food.

I went to Uni without a car. My Uni is located in a small city. There were barely any nearby Asian restaurants. The closest Asian restaurants would be about 30 minutes in the next city.

Thankfully, I will have a kitchen and car next year to relieve me of my eating crisis.

People:

I met a great variety of people by the first month. I was in classes with people from different educational backgrounds, different financial positions, and different upbringings. A great diversity was one of the values I looked forward to in choosing my university. I have encountered some rallies and protests while at Uni (first time in my life). These events allowed me to become more aware of some values and beliefs of my peers.

Sometimes, I cannot help but feel like a child among my peers. I’m probably one of the youngest students (even in my year) and one of the shortest students (not even 5′!) Being the baby in such a large school made me feel out of place. Almost everyone knew each other and already developed cliques. None of my best friends was next to me. I’m very introverted so making new friends was the most difficult thing to do. I hate forcing myself into new relationships, knowing that it might not last in the long run. I have a very small group of friends, but they mean everything to me. Honestly, I hate making friends that are just for classes or building connections for work.

As I continued talking to people, I felt more comfortable opening up. I joined a cultural club.  I felt that this group helped me begin to open up to people, since I knew some people back from my hometown. Hopefully I will be able to make really good friends this next semester as I continue to join clubs and get involved!

Classes:

The classes were both easier and harder. A majority of my classes were AP classes that made my high school schedule a nightmare compared to my freshman classes.  I took 14 hours first semester since my adviser suggested to go easy at the beginning. I HAD WAY TOO MUCH TIME.  I had an average of 8-9 hours of sleep plus days where I would take 3 hour naps! I took 16 hours second semester and hope to take 18 next semester!

The classes in college focus more on exam grades than assignments.A lot of my classes only consisted of maybe 3 exams, 2 papers, and one final. That was it. This was a massive change for me. In high school, I always had homework assignments that would cushion my grade. However, I learned that I should study harder for my exams since my assignments were not enough to cushion my exam grades.

At my Uni, professors taught the class, but the teacher assistants grade the papers. Unfortunately, I didn’t have many good TAs my freshman year. This was one of the most annoying thing that I could not stand. My CALC and CHEM TAs did not know what problems or concepts we had to learn practically half of the time. However, my BIOL TA was amazing; he taught me how to write a proficient scientific report.

My classes range in size. Most of my discussion and English classes were tiny with about 20 students. While most of my lecture classes have about 300 students. I had maybe a maximum of 40 students in my high school classes. There are about 28,000 students at my Uni compared to the 3,000 students in my high school. Can you imagine walking to class with thousands of other students?! My campus is pretty big; it takes about 30-35 minutes to walk from one end of campus to the other side. I am not an athletic person so walking 4 miles a day was very life-changing for me. I have already worn out two pairs of shoes!

Looking at my freshman year, I definitely slacked off since classes were easier and less strict. I hate to admit that I could have gotten a 4.0 GPA if only I did not procrastinate. I learned my lesson. I will absolutely raise my GPA next year and keep up with my studies!

Overall:

I’m excited to continue to pursue my degree at this university and make good memories!

We’re all one year closer to our dreams! Let me know how your freshman year experience went!

 

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2 thoughts on “Update: Freshman Experience

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