Word from the Real World: Jolijt Tamanaha Reply

Before starting, I heard countless warnings about the difficulty of college.  I walked into my first class fully expecting a cruel, heartless professor and incredibly complicated work. After all, the favorite line of some BSGE teachers is: “In college, the professors won’t care about you at all.”
I’ve only had caring professors. Professor Welman brought in doughnuts as a reward after the midterm. Professor Drury goes to our classroom 10 minutes early every day “just in case someone needs to talk.” Professor Farenthold held multiple hour-long meetings with every student; the first one was to get to know me and then the following meetings were to develop ideas and content for my final essay. Professor Bandy, who teaches an 80 person Macroeconomics lecture class, told us: “Don’t just study. Go have a little fun. Party. A B on an Intro to Macroeconomics midterm will have nothing to do with your career.”
I didn’t party at all. That same weekend I also had to write a 12-page paper (double spaced, don’t panic) and study for an International Politics midterm. But that amount of work isn’t anything new for an IB student from BSGE. There were weekends in high school that I spent all day in my house, slaving away, hunched over my Macbook. Last weekend, with the discipline I learned at BSGE, I got done what I had to get done and none of it was incredibly complicated.
In fact, in some ways college is easier. I’m taking classes I’m really interested in, which makes reading and writing assignments much more enjoyable. They’re classes I’ve chosen and that gives me a sense of duty; I put myself in them and it’s my responsibility to make sure I do well. I don’t go to nearly as many hours of school. My days start at 10am (except Thursday, when I don’t start until 11:30am). And a semester is only 13 weeks long.
There are two elements to college that I’ll admit add difficulty. I have immense freedom. I can stay in my room and, while I will get emails from professors because they do care, no one will make me come out. I can party all night, every night, never study, and barely go to class and no one will stop me.
The second element is the higher stakes involved. At BSGE, students don’t receive a GPA so a 4 in a class doesn’t seem like it’ll play a huge role in the bigger picture. But a C in college is a big deal. All of your work is crunched into one number and that number is how much you’re worth to employees. It’s the first thing they see and, like your SAT score, it usually can’t make you but it can break you. Unlike your SAT score, you don’t get a do over.
Don’t let that stop you. Afraid of material I was so sure would be over my head, I didn’t even look at the math section in the course booklet fall semester. This semester, I decided it was necessary to face my fears so I registered for Calculus II. It’s completely doable! Throughout most of my BSGE years, I thought I was terrible at math, but here I actually understand what’s going on.
To do well, the classes require work, but so do classes at BSGE. And just like the teachers at BSGE, your professors care about you. Take it from me: college won’t kill you.

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