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Schoolcraft Connection

The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

From high school to college

A look at a student’s first college experience
Image by Freepik

Hopeful or daunted? Maybe a mix of both?

For many, college undoubtedly brings a myriad of new experiences to life. Whether they be stressful, interesting, confusing or lighthearted, the college experience is often a good chance for young people to meet the challenges that can come with growing up.

As an 18-year-old freshman in college, I’m definitely feeling the difference between college and high school. I went to Stevenson High School in Livonia for all of my high school career and just graduated in the spring of this year. 

Since my graduation, I’ve had so many different feelings happening at the same time related to this change. I’ve been hopeful, worried, happier, lost, more free and even depressed all mixed into one combination of emotion. 

To start, I would say I am hopeful because I am finally out of high school and able to choose what I will do next. It is both an exciting privilege and terrifying decision with how many options there are out in the world. I feel lost, too, because I don’t know what that decision or said next step will be. I am worried because I wasn’t sure if I’d fit in, get to know people and feel comfortable in this new college environment. At least, though, I can say I am also happier because high school was difficult for me and I am glad to move on from it. 

With this adjustment, I have been met with challenges, of course, too. I’d say more of my issues are more social than academic. Throughout high school, I struggled with mental health and it’s been easy to become isolated as a quieter, more soft-spoken person. Even as I’ve entered college these feelings have continued to stick with me. I can have peace of mind knowing though, that I have come a long way from where I used to be. I hope people who read this can be proud of themselves knowing they’ve come a long way too. 

With that being said, I also want to mention it helps a great deal knowing I feel prepared for my academics. It might not be a common experience, but entering college has actually been less stressful than high school was for me so far. 

This time last year, I was balancing a college-level speech class, an advanced global education program, regular day-to-day classes, sleep deprivation, (<five hours of sleep), and an overall negative mood about life. In comparison, I’ve been getting enough sleep, feeling prepared for my classes and procrastinating less. I think that my high school experience made me feel more prepared for what will happen next. The work I did then makes what I’ve been experiencing in college seem familiar and manageable. 

What has stood out to me most, though, is that I am so much happier and more free than I have felt in years. I love how this environment is very casual, people don’t stress about being a minute late or what I choose to wear to class. I have so much freedom with my time and it is much easier to fit things into my schedule and do what matters to me. I feel free with the direction of my education and my life. I’m honestly really grateful to be in this position and I am looking forward to how my life will continue to change. 

That isn’t to say I’m not afraid. Those feelings of being lost and confused are very present in my life. I’m trying to come to terms with maybe it’s okay to feel this way. These feelings don’t have to be positive or negative, they can just be there for me to feel. A few main ideas I’ve been hanging onto are below, I hope that they might help other people too. 

For one, take the opportunities that show up in your life, work with what’s in front of you and with what you have. Waiting for the right time to present itself may never come. Oftentimes, the right time you’ve been waiting for is actually when that opportunity shows up. Letting it pass you by because you feel unprepared might be something that you regret. 

Try for an open mindset so you don’t miss something new around you. It’s easy to push away the things that scare you, but go out of your comfort zone to help yourself learn what you want and don’t want in your life. Take one baby step to connect with people and the world around you. At least at the end you can have peace of mind knowing you explored all of your options. 

I like to think that feeling lost is a natural part of growing into who you will be. The difference is when you allow that lost feeling to consume you.

Choosing to do nothing because you are afraid. Afraid you won’t find anything, afraid you’ll just be stuck at a desk, afraid you’ll fail, be rejected, or won’t be content. These feelings I think are all natural parts of the human experience. 

How, though, will you know what anything is if you don’t try to discover it for yourself? I know this is much easier said than done, but looking up from the ground, making eye contact and smiling at a stranger, talking to a friend or getting involved in your community can make all of the difference. Taking that one step forward to connect, to get yourself even a little bit un-lost is worth all of the trouble. I think that is one lesson I will carry with me in my next years of college and long after that.

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Caitlin Cherry, Campus Life Editor

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