What Makes College So Difficult?

It’s the things that those of us seasoned college veterans take for granted that are more likely than not going to trip up all of the new comers who are entering or currently in college. 

Having finally finished my undergraduate and graduate school careers, I find myself constantly reflecting on what could have made college (undergrad) less of a struggle for me. It took me 3.5 years to finally realize that the things making school such a challenge were all of the things I was “just supposed to know how to do”. Well, I’m here to tell what everyone else seems to forget to mention: things which come natural to those who have been doing them forever won’t always come natural to the rest of the population.

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Do you know how to send a college professor an appropriate email? Do you know the actual purpose of a syllabus? Do you know why tutoring is for the kids who want and get A’s & B’s? Do you know the difference between “your” and “you’re”? Okay, so that last one isn’t really related, but can be a huge pet peeve for many people and will really affect the grade on your first English 101 paper, trust me. I’m convinced that the majority of students entering college and even some of those who are already there have no idea what it’s going to take to be a successful college student and that’s perfectly fine! Let me explain why:

Whenever you start a new hobby, task, job, anything, there is and always will be a learning curve. You can study and read as much as you want, but you just can’t seem to get the hang of it until you’re actually in there doing it and making it more practical for yourself. There is honestly no way to master something without consistent practice. I know, it sounds really cliche and stuffy, but there is a lot of truth behind that statement. Keeping all of this in mind, why should you, the college student, be expected by we, the educators, to come into our institutions and just “know” why things work the way they do? That expectation is crazy and I don’t want any of you to fall into its trap.

My day job involves helping students learn the “soft skills” that will help make them successful college students. All of the things that many of you won’t admit you actually need help with: time management, scheduling your time, understanding your learning style, the importance of a planner, what taking notes actually means, highlighting text instead of creating a coloring book, and the list continues. My job is to take all of those crazy expectations to have skills that would have previously been somewhat useless for you and guide you towards mastering them. I like to think of people such as myself as the men and women you should never be afraid to ask a “stupid question”.

I can’t promise you that I’ll keep every post brief and to the point because I’m an academic and we haven’t all developed the skill of brevity as well as we should have. However, what I can promise you is that if you follow this blog, you will find posts that are useful to you, useful for a friend, or even just posts that make you laugh about the quirky things that happen in higher education.

So, until next time…

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