by Chelsea Low
As the last few weeks of my community college career come to a close, I find myself reflecting on the last year and a half of my life and realizing I actually may have learned learn a thing or two.
A lot of my experiences here at Folsom Lake College have been classic “expectations versus reality” scenarios. I grudgingly started my career here with preconceived notions about the students, professors, student life, classes, et cetera. Luckily I was wrong about some of these things, although I was in for a rude awakening regarding others. Let’s take a look at my preconceived notions about FLC and debunk some myths.
Expectation: Coming from a high school like Oak Ridge, I was under the impression that my community college professors would be inferior to the ones teaching my friends at fancy four-year universities.
Reality: I don’t know if my professors at the four-year I plan on transferring to will be able to measure up to the professors I’ve had the pleasure of being taught by at FLC. They’re just as qualified and brilliant as their more well-known counterparts at name-brand institutions. Additionally, I’ve found many of my professors are truly interested in the wellbeing and lives of their students with an open door policy, something which university professors aren’t exactly known for. I’m going to miss the personal experience I was able to find at FLC.
Expectation: I naively went into my first semester assuming all my classes would be bursting with students as motivated as I was.
Reality: FLC, like any community college, is a melting pot of students at different points in their academic careers. Some are ready to transfer, some are going for an AA, some are older students seeking higher education for the first time in their lives, and some are simply trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives. The good news is that everyone has their own niche, and (as cliché as it sounds) getting involved on campus makes it easier to find your own…which brings us to our next expectation….
Expectation: I doubted there would be more than a handful of clubs, let alone anyone active in student life. I mean, this is community college, why would anyone get involved if they’re leaving after a year or two?
Reality: There are actually more clubs on campus than I can name, and even as a club president myself, I continually find out about new ones on campus. If you want to get involved, there are countless ways to do so, from the expansive AJ club and Student Senate to smaller, more intimate clubs. I actually found myself having to pick and choose between clubs because there were so many, before ultimately deciding to start my own (another great option that is easier and more common than it sounds).
Expectation: I figured my high school had prepared me for anything I’d ever encounter at FLC.
Reality: High school did prepare me, but I would advise anyone coming in directly from high school to be prepared to learn as well. There’s definitely a balance of taking what you used to know from K-12 and translating that to new learning experiences at a new school. While high school is a perfect prerequisite to community college, don’t go into it with a know-it-all attitude, even if you feel you are overqualified. Take the learning experience seriously, even if it’s something you think you already learned in high school. Open-mindedness is key.
Expectation: These classes are going to be easy, I yawned.
Reality: Okay, oftentimes this was the reality—but only to an extent. The classes are certainly a step up from high school, but depending on the class and teacher, the definitely vary in difficulty. Another thing to take into consideration is the type of student YOU are. I know that, for the most part, while I definitely tried a lot harder than I did in high school and completely changed my study habits, this had little to do with the difficulty of the actual classes themselves. On the other hand, there are plenty of students who struggle with the courses. It’s a good way to gauge where you are academically.
Expectation: I’m going to be prepared for a four-year university after doing my time at FLC.
Reality: At this moment in time, I have not started my career at a four-year university yet. When I do in the fall, I’ll know for sure—but for now? As I previously alluded to, I didn’t have to push myself too hard in the classes, so I’m a little nervous for the difficult adjustment to the academics at a four-year university, which will undoubtedly be rigorous. But, of course, it’s community college, so I don’t expect FLC to perfectly simulate the environment of a four-year university. It has, however, prepared me in far more ways than I could ever have anticipated, and has left me feeling ready to take on new challenges.
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