Uninformed Outlook

The college experience is looming, but for some Sequoit alumni it wasn’t exactly what they expected it to be.

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Theodore Martinek

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Most people have a bright outlook on the future.

They think that their next step in life, no matter how small, is going to be better than what it is now. Whether they are starting a new job, moving into an apartment, or, the big step that many of us seniors are about to take, going to college. Seniors tend to imagine easier classes, more free time and courses that they will actually use in their lifetimes.

Sadly, while some visions may be accurate, a lot of them are faulty. College is portrayed as the best time of our lives, and probably will be, but there is baggage that comes along with it.

“I thought it was going to be a lot more of an independent thing, that I can’t rely as much on my teachers as much, and, of course, on my parents because I was not going to be living at home anymore, at least not for the first year in college,” Antioch Community High School graduate Wesley Skym, a junior at Columbia College Chicago, said.  “I thought it was going to be independent, and I thought it was going to be easy. It wasn’t.”

Although there were plenty of things to get used to at college, most of the surprises when going off to college were good.

“I then went to a university that had smaller classes,” Skym said. “I was expecting a giant lecture hall with one teacher teaching 50 or more students, but no. We had classrooms of 15 kids where we all knew each other’s names and the professor knew our names. It was actually much nicer that way.”

John Jadrich, currently a freshman at Illinois State University, also found his college lifestyle to be different than expected.

“It is different because I have to share a dorm with somebody, and I also have to share a bathroom with 25, 30 other people,” he said. “It is a little much. And I can’t have home cooked meals; I have to have dining hall food, which is terrible.”

Often, a big ten school comes to mind when college is mentioned: a place like the University of Illinois or Michigan State with massive lecture halls, multi-story dorm rooms, sprawling campuses and industrial scale food service. These colleges have the most attention from the news, leaving many smaller ones out of the picture.

“Make sure  you are going to the right place for you,” Skym said. “I went to the University of Illinois—Springfield, and that was the only place I applied for. Soon as I got in, I was like, ‘Oh, sweet. I guess I don’t have to try any more. I am set.’ That was definitely not the case, because I am much happier at Columbia. I did research around and figured out this is the school I want to go to.”

In the end, Jadrich said going to college isn’t as intimidating as some seniors fear.

“Relax,” he said. “If I were to say anything before going into college, I would say to relax. Because it is really not scary, the people are awesome and even if you don’t think that the people are awesome, then you could just not talk to them. It is that simple. Do well in school, get good grades. Don’t let other activities mess with that because in the end, your end goal, what you are paying money to do, is go to school. And your first year, it is really good to get a good GPA. It sets a great foundation.”