Teachers share words of wisdom about college


Dani Wasserman, Staff Writer

Imagine you are in a lecture hall in college with a class of 150 other students and when the first test was scored, you received the lowest grade. Dr. Samuel Martin, coordinator of student transitions, experienced this exact situation during his freshman year of college, which resulted in him changing his perspective and to work harder to improve his grades. 

 “I wish I had been more studious from the start,” Dr. Martin said. “The lesson I learned was that college moved at a much quicker pace with less room for error.”

College expectations reach a different caliber than that of high school. Students must learn and adjust to the new standards while maintaining strong grades and work ethic, which can be a struggle for many. However, there are many different tips and tricks for success in college. For instance, use proven time management skills or find mentors and like-minded peers. 

“The key was learning how to manage my time,” Dr. Martin said. “I scheduled everything-class time, study time, work time, time at the gym, social time, video game time.” 

 Balancing college with daily life can often be a struggle, and as a result, students may give up or fail. Andrew Gallagher, English teacher, has two reasons for not giving up and pushing through the struggle. 

“One is practical: Dropping out of college is expensive–you take on the debt but get none of the benefits,” Gallagher said. “Over the course of your life, you’ll earn quite a bit more with a diploma than without it. The other reason is that pushing through challenges can help you discover who you are and what you genuinely care about.”

Many students who push through the struggles will often begin to question their major. Many will switch their major halfway through college and find something else they are passionate about, which often causes stress. 

 “I went into college focusing on a professional career-oriented track: journalism, but I was really drawn more to creative writing,” Gallagher said. “I could have been more honest with myself about what I cared about most and saved myself a change in my major.”

Not only is it important to be honest with yourself at the beginning, but also to not be obsessed with the name or reputation of the school. 

“From my personal experience and that of many of my friends, we didn’t need to go to a private (more expensive) college, when we could have saved a lot of money by just going to a public university,” Samuel Llanos, math teacher, said. “The name of the school attracted us there, but we would have done just as well in our careers had we gone somewhere else. What really matters is what you learn there and how you build your skillset to make yourself more marketable than the next person.”