After spending four years in high school slaving over math problems and studying for history tests, college-bound students begin an entirely new chapter of their educational careers. But are they prepared?
My high school prided itself on being a college preparatory school. It was a junior and senior high school, so for six years we were being “prepped” for college. I started taking high-school level classes in seventh grade. They definitely did not mess around when it came to getting us ready for the four years of college to follow.
As the years went by I took the courses that were mapped out for me, wishing everyday that graduation was sooner. By the time I reached my senior year, I had virtually nothing else to take. I did not like the advanced placement courses that my school offered, and all I needed was one credit of English to graduate. I would have loved to take just English my senior year, but I was forced to take six credits.
My senior-year choice was to take three dual enrollment courses at the local community college and three classes at my high school. So here is what my senior year looked like: three classes at a community college that I could have passed in my sleep, two elective courses (Yearbook and Drama) and the required English class. I could have applied for early admission at the community college, but I wanted to be able to enjoy some of my senior year.
Needless to say, my senior year was a waste of time. I would rather have been given my diploma after my junior year. Don’t get me wrong – I had a blast during my last year of high school. However, I barely worked when it came to academics. I achieved straight A’s without breaking a sweat or a pencil lead.
I never had homework. I either went to my job, a friend’s house or lounged around and did nothing.
Now that midterm grades have been posted, I am noticing how much my slack senior year is affecting me. Until my senior year of high school, I had decent study habits. During senior year, I didn’t do much in the way of studying simply because there wasn’t much to study. In essence, I had a year and a half break from studying before coming to college – and that break has killed me.
According to American College Testing (ACT), in 1999, 26% of college freshmen had dropped out, with one of the most common reasons being that students did not feel ready for college. With such a statistic, I would hope that high schools would make more of an effort to demonstrate proper study techniques, time management and offer more rigorous and challenging courses.
The study habits, or lack thereof, that I acquired in high school are definitely not cutting it at USF. My usual “wait until the night before” mantra is slowly changing into “you better start studying weeks in advance.” Granted, it doesn’t kill me, but I will admit this: I am lazy. I think I still have senioritis.
My advice to freshmen: study, study and study! Form groups with friends and roommates and actually study while in those groups. Do not procrastinate and always set deadlines. Pay attention to what your professors want, and put every amount of effort possible into your classes.
We can do it. We don’t have to be part of a statistic.
Olivia Hattan is a freshman majoring in mass communications.