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The concept of leaving home and entering a community of unfamiliar faces can be scary for any incoming college student. Within a matter of a few short weeks, home goes from the house that you grew up in to the room you share with a stranger and live out of. The main purpose of college is to prepare young adults for the professional world. For many first year student’s college is the first time that they are living without some type of parental supervision. This is meant to help them grow and mature into a full adult and prepare them for professional life. The more a student feels at home at college the more that they will rely on other people for their own well-being, as they did at home. I can agree with the “The Sheltering Campus: Why College is Not Home” and “How to Get a Real Education” ideas of students becoming too dependent on the administration for their interactions on campus and not helping them find their own identity. From my own personal experience thus far in college, I do find it extremely important to find a place you can be yourself.
The older a person gets, the more they are expected to adapt to changes in their life. Moving out of the house and into a college dorm room is one of the most common changes young adults face. When arriving at school a student is expected to be able to take on the responsibilities of living on their own. Responsibilities that a college student faces are as simple as things like keeping up on grades, the laundry, keeping yourself healthy, and managing your own money. These are all mostly responsibilities that will become more serious as a student graduates from college. An article in The New York Times titled, “The Sheltering Campus: Why College is Not Home” and written by Douglas Stone and Mary Schwab-Stone addresses the importance of a college student’s responsibilities. This article show that colleges are putting students at a disadvantage by assisting them so much help. The article states; “The college years — a time for important growth in autonomy and the consolidation of adult identity and life goals — have evolved into an extended period of adolescence during which many of today’s students are not saddled with adult responsibilities” (Stone). Colleges and higher education systems were created to help prepare students for their future careers as well as getting them ready for life as free men and women. A student can take courses that apply specifically to their but if colleges are aiding in everyday life a student may never learn how to manage their own responsibilities.
With responsibilities comes the important skill of being able make decisions. This is a skill that is taught from a young age and carried on throughout a lifetime. Being in college students must make for serious decisions, one that have the ability to impact their futures. Living without parental supervision goes along with the that Erika Christakis, an old teacher at Yale University, addresses her students. It is important for there to be rules in set place to keep the structure. This is how Christakis feels as told by the New York Times article. What she does not realize is that students are at the age that they must learn how to go through the decision making process on their own. In The New York Times article, “The Sheltering Campus: Why College is Not Home” it explains why students should not be infantilized. The article states “The term, in developmental psychology, refers to a parenting approach that uses a level of assistance and control more appropriate for much younger children; ultimately, such behavior can hinder capacities to develop independence and resilience.” Treating students as Erika Christakis felt they should be treated is applying this psychology term. College should be a transition from childhood to adulthood. Christakis expected to have a say in what students could and could not wear as Halloween costumes. This a simple decision that a college student should make for themselves based upon how they want others to view them. The more assistance that is given to students by higher ups they less they will see how much they truly achieve. If mistakes and wrong decisions are made along the way, they will grow from them.
While it is important to feel like you fit in at school, it is just as important to challenge yourself. A school you can be challenged enough to grow in and outside the classroom. You sit through hours of information sessions and campus tours just to find a place that feels perfect. This can be a very intimidating process for most teenagers. Some students head to school with plans for their future, while others do not pick a major, and some change theirs multiples times along the way. Scott Adams wrote an article called, “How to Get a Real Education”. His article is about his own experience in college. A very important part of college is what each individual makes of it. The more one learns to apply themselves the more success they will find in the future. Scott Adams tells the story of how his friends and himself solved problems, a key skill to learn in life. They had plans in mind and they did something with them, they turned their plans into actions. In the article, Adams states he was successful because of his can do attitude. Adams states, “By the time I graduated, I had mastered the strange art of transforming nothing into something” (Adams). This is a perfect example of how it is possible for college students to achieve their own goals. If college feels too much like an extension of adolescences, students to be distracted of their goals. As shown through Adam’s story about his college experience, it is shown that college is the first step to a successful career. He challenged himself by taking on a project with friends that seemed impossible.
From my first semester here at Fairleigh Dickinson I have learned multiple things about myself as a person and as a student. I have come to realize that finding a place you are comfortable in is extremely important to your success, but college will never truly be home. For me, home is the place I come from, where the people who make me who I am are. College is the place I take who they have taught me to be and apply it to be successful. In January of my senior year of high school my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer and that taught me the value of being independent from my parents. A week before leaving to move into college, my twenty-year older brother was involved in a violent car accident and was in the intensive care unit when I left for school. Making the choice to leave what I have always known as home was difficult not knowing what would change in my home life next. Unfortunately, by November my family had experienced more changes. Cancer became more of a sentence for my father than simply just a word. He would undergo surgery to remove twenty percent of his liver, as well as two tumors, half through my first semester. Had my Dad not chose surgery and chemotherapy, he was given two months to live. It was adapted to changes like this that made my first semester anything but ordinary. I found that feeling comfortable at school is extremely important because you never truly know when you are going to need someone in your life who cares for you in that the way that people at home would. The biggest thing I learned from my unordinary first semester, though was how to adapt to change. I knew that I could not let myself get distracted for after all this is the where I came to apply myself and grow as a person. Home is my place to relax and enjoy the moments, college is where I come to work hard and everyone, now and then reward myself by having fun with people I have formed great relationships with so far.
Being comfortable in a place away from home differs from calling college home. You cannot rely on anyone but yourself to make progress in your life. If you want to see happen, you have to apply what you already know and what you are learning along the way. Living without parents is teaching you skills that you will carry with you the rest of your life. Studying in school will teach you how to be a professional in your major. The difference between school and home is school is the place you apply the lessons you learned in the first eighteen years of your life in order to find success in your future
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