Preparing for college life can be stressful. As someone considered to be a minority student from a low-income background, getting a college degree seemed impossible. However, after experiencing the process myself, I learned that achieving and even excelling in higher education is not only possible, but something that everyone should have the opportunity to do. Hearing the perspectives of people who come from similar backgrounds can be empowering- especially in the college process. That’s why I want to share my story with anyone who might benefit.
Since I was a kid, higher education was always presented to me as an opportunity to put myself in a better position and secure a better future. Being a 21st Century Scholar, I was excited to have help paying for this new adventure. I just wasn’t sure how I would pay for the rest of the college experience. Room & board, technology fees and parking permits can add up. To get a better understanding of what expenses you might have, you can use the College Scorecard to compare costs at different colleges side by side.
On top of cost, college can be very challenging. I found myself struggling to balance my schedule with all the responsibilities I had on campus. Time management is one of the skills that I had to learn in order to succeed in college. I learned the hard way that waiting to do everything until the last-minute hurts you more than it helps. To work on managing your time, I suggest making a daily schedule or to-do list to help you stay ahead. Here’s an example of how a schedule should look. Remember that everyone’s schedule is different so be sure to adjust yours to work for you!
Culture shock is another factor of college that you should be aware of. Culture shock happens when you feel out of place in a new environment. Feeling out place can cause you to feel homesick or anxious. The good news is that feeling this way is OK and perfectly normal, despite it not being all that fun. When in new environments, there is so much uncertainty that can cause you to worry. So, what can you do about it? I got familiar with where things were at my school and started being active on campus. You have an opportunity to create new circles of friends and feel a sense of belonging at your school, so take advantage of it! You’ll also get a chance to find new interests that you may have not known about. Outside of attaining your degree, college is about making the most of your time outside the classroom to make your experience the best it can be overall.
If I can attend and succeed in college, so can you. Remember: higher education is challenging. Higher education is fun. Higher education is what you make of it.
For more advice, check out the “Succeeding in College” and “Preparing for College” under the College Section here on the website!