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College is an important path that adults need to consider taking in their life. Considering one’s culture, beliefs, and environment, people will see college as a need or a want. Transitioning into college without any prior knowledge is stressful which can cause the person to not go to college. This essay will be covering a student’s perspective on her college experiences. The positive and negative factors that she had to overcome will show how she developed as a student and as a citizen in society. College is an institution of higher learning, so there are bound to be different scenarios that the student will encounter which will help build her characteristics and hone her skills for a better future.
The idea of transitioning into college is a huge step towards investing in a better future. Students are spoon fed from their kindergarten days to high school years. Applying to college is a step that the student needs to handle all on their own. Having to plan what college best suits them, students tend to have cold feet then decide to not go to college and instead apply for jobs. Other students have support from family and prior knowledge that can help smooth the transition into college. Depending on the current status of the person, the outcome of the student going to college can vary. My transition into college was one of total confusion, stress, and regrets.
During my senior year, there were several goals that I wanted to accomplish for my future but going to college was not one of them. I was part of an elite society referred to as National Honor Society (NHS), but I did not feel more special than the other student. I was president of the business club, yet it was not in my interest to pursue a future in the business field. I was given opportunities to take the SATs, ACTs, and ASVABs, but I did not see the purpose or benefits in it. I still took advantage of the opportunity because I was not given any other choice. I had good test results and a great academic standing, yet I did not bother to apply to any of the schools that reached out. My only plan was to get out of high school and get off the rock. Apparently, the universe did not agree with my plans, and had set obstacles in my way to push me to where I am now.
During my high school graduation, I was surprised to find out that I was accepted into three off-island colleges, and I also received scholarships. I did not apply to any of these colleges or for any scholarships. I found out later that my counselor had applied for me and whenever I was told to sign papers and provide documents under the idea that it was for graduation. My plans began to change and improvise ever since my name was called during graduation. After the graduation, I made plans to live with my siblings in Utah and find a job to earn money. Money makes the world go around, so in order to survive this world, I believed that I had to make money and everything else will fall into place. My parents did not agree with my plan considering that I had better opportunities in furthering my education. It was best that I obeyed my parents because it would benefit me in the long run. I attended the meetings concerning the scholarships and I was given a choice to use my scholarship for an off-island college or the local community college. I may have been prepared to leave the rock, but I planned only to be surrounded by family members and friends. I was not prepared to meet the outside world and encounter new people in a new environment, so I decided to go to the local community college. In this situation I can apply the theory of constructivism by Piaget where it states:
Piaget’s theory covered learning theories, teaching methods, and education reform. Two of the key components which create the construction of an individual’s new knowledge are accommodation and assimilation… Accommodation is reframing the world and new experiences into the mental capacity already present. Individuals conceive a particular fashion in which the world operates. When things do not operate within that context, they must accommodate and reframing the expectations with the outcomes.
My life did not go according to my plan, so the only choice I had left was to accommodate to the situation.
“One means of addressing the lack of preparedness of college freshmen students with regards to classroom behavior, deadlines, note-taking, and understanding a syllabus would be creating some forms of pre-college intervention with the local high schools” is exactly what I wished happened to me (Rodriquez, 2017). Since I did not plan to go to college, I did not want to participate or attend any of the college reach out programs. I did not care for college because no one in family went to college. I had no one in my life to influence me and help me understand why college should be an option after high school. All I had back then was a very strict counselor who would force me to go to the college outreach programs. The only college reach out I could escape was the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) which ironically was the only reach out I should have attended.
All the prior knowledge that could have helped me in my transition into college was thrown out the window because of my high school foolishness. I had a difficult time trying to understand the college jargon whenever I attended the other college reach outs. My mind would naturally shut down whenever I would encounter a predicament. Since I struggled with trying to understand college, I figured that attending college would be even worse and a waste of time and energy. I did everything in my power to convince my parents that college was not the right path for me. Fortunately, my counselor was looking out for me and she took advantage of the opportunities for me. If it was not for my counselor, I would have been sitting in an apartment that I could not afford, struggling trying to pay for rent, yet here I am sitting in my own house rent free, struggling to finish a research paper for a class that I did not have to pay out of pocket.
“Once admitted, underrepresented students … face additional challenges academically, socially, emotionally, and financially during their college career, further increasing the likelihood that these students will be denied a college degree” is a stretch of the truth when it comes to students in ASCC. I did not have to face any challenges academically, socially, emotionally, or financially when I was admitted into ASCC. Academically, my SAT and ACT scores helped me a lot when it came to choosing classes for my schedule. Majority of my graduating class chose ASCC as well, so my social life was intact. Emotionally, I was just glad that the beginning process was not as bad as I imagined. Since financial aid covered my tuition and books, the scholarship money became pocket money to buy extra school materials like a laptop. The only negative factor in my beginning process was the long wait in line for registration and the tiring back-and-forth process due to miscommunication among the staff members. Overall, my college introduction was smooth, and I started to believe that investing in my future was achievable.
“Many freshmen feel overwhelmed by the demands of college. Family support seems to be a key factor in adjustment, both for students commuting from home and for those living on campus … cost-effective peer support intervention can significantly ease the transition to college” may not fully apply to my situation in ASCC concerning living on campus, but all other factors apply. I may have been blessed with skills and knowledge, but in my family, I am the one with a weak heart. I always give up whenever I am confronted with a dilemma. One of the main reasons why I was able to graduate from high school was because of the huge support I got from my family. They continue to support me on my journey into college. My family can only help me so far, so I tread alone trying my best when I am on campus.
There are two types of learning styles and I can relate to both. One learning style is being a field-dependent learner which is “[a]n individual who has difficulty with distracting factors…These individuals prefer interaction with others and opportunities for discussion. They enjoy the social context of situations and respond to verbal praise”. I love the idea of having group discussions with my classmates or friends when I am tackling a project or doing a simple assignment. My social group also act as my academic support group. Sometimes my friends would have some insight on how to approach some of my assignments because they already took the class. The class may have a rubric but extra guidelines or advices from friends do not hurt especially if it helps my case.
The other type of learning style is being a field-independent learner which is “an individual that prefers lectures and more formal teaching learning situations. These individuals tend to be more competitive and respond to external rewards, such as grades”. Some teachers love the idea of making their students compete, yet it is not effective, and students do not enhance their learning capabilities to the best of their abilities. I may love the idea of group discussions, but sometimes the information shared is not always right and credible. Lectures and independent study really help me collect my thoughts. I tend to understand some lessons in my own way that may confuse others. When students face challenging assignments, they will most likely turn to their friends for help, but the best option would be to turn to the instructor first. There are a lot of helpful programs on campus that are designed to provide professional assistance to students. These programs not only help with assignments, but also when students are interested in applying for a job.
“By their mid-twenties, most emerging adults are either working or pursuing advanced education or both. Those who enter the workforce face a rapidly changing picture. The nature of work is changing, and work arrangements are becoming more varied and less stable” I may not be in my mid-twenties, but the world of work is a place of familiarity. My parents are self-employed, so the rest of the family was automatically part of the workforce. My father is a fisherman while my mother handles several side jobs including delivery service for my father’s catch of the day. At the age of 5, I was my mother’s assistant and at the age of 20 I have been promoted to manager. I may not get paid like everyone else, but the roof over my head and food on the table is enough for me. Some may say that I mistake my chores for work. Any work I do that falls under one of the many businesses my parents own is considered a job. The paycheck may not physically be in my possession, but every purchase my parents make for me comes from the money I ‘earn’ when I work. Most people enter the workforce and improvise their school schedule to accommodate their work schedule, but in my case, it is the opposite. I started kindergarten late, so I had to accommodate my work schedule with my education. When the schedule has been improvised then it is time to see if I could balance both factors in my life.
“Working during college may also affect the likelihood of attending graduate programs … Therefore, while work itself may not be detrimental to an undergraduate education, it may be related to difficulties meeting criteria for graduate programs” it was not a problem for me because my father decreased my workload when I started going to college. I am grateful my parents understood from heart that I needed more time to tackle my work from school, so they delayed any jobs I had for the weekends. My first semester in college was a joke. I had so much free time on my hands, so my father thought he was making a mistake by decreasing my workload. I worked my regular amount during my free time. I am grateful that only happened during my first semester because the rest of my college journey was a challenge on its own.
I do not know how other students do it. I am lucky because my parents were not strict like actual bosses would be. I did not slack off even though I knew my parents would allow it. Other students make sacrifices and go home at the end of the day dead tired but still have the energy to do their homework. Students quit their jobs when they want to focus on their education. They are only able to quit their jobs because their parents support them. In other situations, students quit school because they cannot afford it. Without any support from family, these students are forced to focus on their jobs to save enough money to invest in the furthering their education. On their journey to save enough money, sometimes these students do not have the passion to continue their education, so they continue with their lives. There were times where I felt like quitting school and acquiring a job so I could see quick results. I wanted to support my family and give back to my parents. I knew that being rash would not help me or my family, so I stood fast and strong in my decision to enhance my education.
“Whether a person completes college may depend not only on motivation, academic aptitude and preparation, ability to work independently, but also on social integration and social support” are words that could not be any truer. I was motivated from day one by family and friends. The only reason my family motivated and supported me was because they saw hope in me. They noticed that I was a little different from other siblings concerning my academic aptitude. It was difficult for me to work independently, but with enough trial and errors I was able to work independently. Although I had applied for graduation at the beginning of that semester, I was still surprised and satisfied on the day I received my cap and gown. There were semesters that made me doubt the possibility of graduating. I thought I only had to worry about my assignments, but the educational universe was against it. I had to tread carefully on dangerous waters when it came some teachers that would grade my assignments emotionally. I had to push my brain over the capacity when it came to solving math problems or tackling a huge presentation. My college experiece was a challenge, but not as bad as I thought it would have been. I walked the aisle with pride knowing that I not only achieved a huge milestone in my academic life, but I also strengthen my weak heart with endurance and patience. I would say that I have competed college, but I have completed the first level. I am working on the second level of enhancing my education in college.
I have fought a difficult war. My battle scars consist of papercuts, dry red eyes, back pain, and headaches. Fighting each assignment with my pens and pencils, I have conquered a lot of college experiences during my time. Some wars could have been handled better, but from my mistakes, my strategies have progressed. In the end I have come out victorious. I will never regret my decision to sign up for this torture. I have become a better person on Earth, a better democratic citizen in society, and a better member of my family. Each skill and knowledge that I acquired during my time on the ASCC battlefield will surely help me on my journey for a better future.
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