A student’s freshman year in college brings about a slew of changes that require some adjustments — notably to a heavier workload, larger classes and greater responsibilities.
Although many first-year students feel adequately prepared for the large amount of work, some aspects of college exceed their expectations.
“High school was a joke,” said Jaymee Nusbaum, a freshman majoring in human development. “I didn’t have to do anything and I was able to get As. Here, no one is telling you when to do things. It’s manageable but you have to take full responsibility.”
With finals on the way, freshmen are attempting to figure out the best way to manage their tests and organize study strategies. Since it is one of their first major testing periods in college, it may be hard to cope with the extra stress.
Some students have a more relaxed approach, while others are getting nervous about their workload.
Nusbaum, who only has one final, scheduled for the last day of testing, plans to take advantage of her time and study a little each day.
Reed Jones, an undeclared freshman, plans to go over notes, read textbook chapters, study in groups and go to his professors’ office hours.
“Finals are worth more … of your grade here in college and I’m assuming the difficulty level is harder,” Jones said. “It’s not the studying that’s more stressful either; it’s the fact that there [are] so many other things I could be doing instead of studying. It’s hard saying, ‘Nah, I’m just gonna study’ to one of your friends.”
A freshman’s decision to stay in the library and study is often fueled by the fear that his or her exam score will drastically affect grades for the semester.
“I’ve been doing pretty well so far, but in college final exams are a big factor, so I could be doing well now and bomb a final exam and maybe drop from an A to a B, and vice versa,” said Brian Calisto, a freshman majoring in accounting. “I guess it’s just time to cram.”
Some freshmen also found aspects of college outside of exam week difficult to adjust to.
The majority of freshman classes are taught in a large lecture format, as opposed to high school where there are only 25 to 30 students in a classroom at a time.
According to Calisto, the change in class size and style of teaching challenged him to focus his thinking.
“I am used to being more personal with my teachers, so when I’m in a bigger class it’s hard to understand what the professor is saying and really learn,” Calisto said. “It’s harder to pay attention because there are more distractions.”
All of these students agree that they have developed a much larger sense of freedom through their transition to college.
But with freedom comes stress and responsibility.
“I want to work really hard to get my grades to be the best they can be. I can’t let the stress of the tests get me down,” Nusbaum said.