My old high school principal’s huge motto for my senior year was “choices”. How do I remember that? He only mentioned it a couple thousand times before I graduated, which got quite boring and repetitive to say the least. But, he had a critical purpose in stressing this. A high school graduate has many paths to choose from, and many choices to make. Straight to the work force? Technical school? A four year university? Taking a break from school? And these are just a few of the popular ones.
The reason I chose to attend Pensacola State College was heavily based on my preference to stay close to my family (plus, I wanted to continue my education). We had moved the summer before the semester began, and since I had missed the deadlines for many Florida colleges and universities, Pensacola State College was one of the few choices that I had; I must say it was a good decision to come here. But your decision making will likely differ from mine.
Making the transition from high school to college will take time. Being a senior in high school has many advantages; You know how to navigate the school, get to be first in the lunch line (definitely a biggie), experience senior benefits, and know all the little things that lower classmen don’t. But now you’re in college; again, you’re a little fish in a big pond. Many people attending college freak out and are unsure about what to expect. It’s OK to be a little nervous; this is normal, not just for you, but for anyone entering another stage of their life.
But hopefully these tips will help you navigate your first semester of college a little more smoothly:
• Studying – Yeah… That word that you thought was a joke in high school. You’re used to getting A’s or B’s without trying really hard. Yeah, I was like that. But it matters a lot more now in college. People tend to realize that it’s generally a good idea to do well in your classes because they’re actually paying for what they are learning (more on this soon).
• A Big Campus – Pensacola State (any college really) is a lot bigger than what you used to know in high school. As a high school senior, you had four years of going into the same classrooms, cafeterias, and gymnasiums. But now you’re faced with the prospect of navigating a college campus. It is really crucial (trust me on this; sadly, I do have personal experience) that you do not get lost. For your first week on campus, I strongly suggest carrying a campus map with you until you are fairly comfortable in where you are going.
• Visiting the Financial Aid Office – Perhaps the most important difference between high school and college, according to many, is the financial differences. Most of you are coming from public high schools that are virtually free (if athletic or club finances aren’t considered). College, especially for out of state people (I was one!), can put quite a strain on you and your family’s financial budget. Building II on the Pensacola State Campus houses the Financial Aid Office. You will find all of the information regarding scholarships, loans, grants, and other financial details there. If you are an out-of-state student, this is a must.
• Be Yourself! – One of the biggest worries for newcomers from high school to the college life is being anxious about the social aspect. Remember, many of your fellow graduates are in the same boat; they are just as worried as you are. But the best advice that I can give you is simply being yourself. Be open to new activities. Involve yourself in campus events. Just being here at the campus every day is an easy way to meet new people and create new relationships.
• Have Fun! – One of the most popular belief’s about college life in our society is that it is the best time of your life. It’s not that far from the truth. Most of you will attempt to gain your two year A.A. degrees and attempt to move on to a bigger university. Enjoy your time at Pensacola State College. Remember, you’re only in college once (usually). Make the best of it!