Tag Archives: #firstyearexperience

The Real College Experience

Your semester/term has begun! Do you have EVERYTHING figured out? If it’s your first year or first term at a new institution, is it fair to say you may be feeling a little lost?

Many campus faculty, and staff, expect that once students attend orientation, they have everything figured out. We know this not to be true. Recently, I read this article, which is an excerpt from a report that was originally published in 2000. Below is a portion of the second point, taken directly from the report.

Because students cannot articulate their needs, they are unable to seek help to address these needs unless the institution intervenes. Contrary to popular belief, students don’t bring a map of their future to campus—they need help building a plan a step at a time. We need to recognize that even good students need this kind of help and guidance …. We have vastly overrated students’ abilities in these key areas:

  • Learning the norms of the campus culture
  • Finding a niche
  • Reaching out and then putting down roots
  • Transferring success behaviors from other settings
  • Putting on blinders/developing focus on the task at hand
  • Resisting peer pressures
  • Compartmentalizing family or work pressures
  • Exhibiting the classroom and study habits of successful students
  • Building relationships with teachers
  • Asking for help

Yes, students – the university, especially a large number of faculty, have overrated your abilities. As such, please do not hesitate to reach out. Utilize advising/counseling services,  full-time professors, and your librarians (available in the library, at the Reference Desk).

When reaching to faculty,  it is okay to politely ask her/him: how long have you been working here, and are you a full-time professor? An adjunct faculty member is a part-time instructor, and not all adjuncts are familiar with university policy, procedures and regulations. Seek guidance and advise from those who are most informed, and thank them for their assistance.

Be courageous, do your research, and seek advice and guidance; these three things empower you!