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The Transition From High School To College Is Harder Than Some Might Think

Transitioning from high school to college has definitely not been entirely what I expected. I did not expect to feel so disconnected from my family back home. When I was in high school, dreaming of the time I would be here in college, I assumed that leaving home and family would not be so difficult. I am not all that far away from home so I thought leaving would be a fun and an exciting experience to live without my parents. 

College has been really great! However, I still miss being surrounded by my family. After living in Irvine for about a month now, I would recommend incoming students to bring items that help you feel at home such as a candle (only if your campus dorms allows you to use it) that your mom likes to burn, a stuffed animal, or pictures of loved ones. 

Another surprising shift that has come to surprise me is how different the academic class structure is compared to high school. In high school, the classrooms probably has about 30 students which allows the teacher to be able to interact with the students directly. You can imagine how shocked I was when I walked into my first in-person lecture hall and saw it filled with about 300 students and only one lecturer. In high school, the smaller classroom size allows you to not only create a professional, teacher-student relationship, but also to ask question regarding the class or lessons easily. The dynamics in college classrooms are so different in a lecture hall because the lecturer (most likely) will not know your name, not be able to answer any concerns you may have right away, and not be able to slow down on lectures when students are not understanding. Therefore, it is extremely crucial as a new college student to attend office hours to gain that relationship with your professors which will help you to feel comfortable asking for clarification on lecture material. 

Although the classroom change will be different in college, I would suggest that new college students set themselves up for success when entering a new academic environment like a lecture hall. First, I would suggest sitting somewhere that you can see the lecturer clearly, and where you will not be easily distracted by who is moving around or entering/leaving the hall. I would also suggest recording the lectures (with the consent of the lecturer of course) on a device and listening back to the lecture later on just in case information was missed. 

The workload difference can also be a challenging reality to get used to, but it has become crucial for me to take everything day by day. I always start a new day with a positive attitude in order for me to handle difficult tasks that my new academic life brings. It has also become critical for me to understand that the small obstacles that I will inevitably encounter are just small obstacles that do not need to overwhelm nor consume me.  It is easy to be consumed with academic struggles because there is always something easier to compare it (Should I have just gone to community college? Or why am I even going to college? Ugh life was so much easier in high school!). We have to understand that the struggles and changes that come with life help us grow into better people. As important as school is, it is not everything nor does it define us. All we can do with these life obstacles is to learn from them and to move onto better things in life, so that future transitions will become more and more bearable for us. 

Cindy Gonzalez

UC Irvine '25

Cindy is a first year at the University of California Irvine pursuing a major in English. When she is not studying, she likes to watch 2000's tv shows, get glammed up, explore OC, or watch the sunset with some good food.
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