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Dear Dr. Syl,
How well did high school prepare you for college? What kinds of obstacles or disadvantages do you deal with on a daily basis in college?
—From High School Preparation
Dear High School Preparation,
I cannot help but to laugh out loud when reading the first part of this question. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely appreciate everything I got from my high school. Unfortunately, my high school did not do a good job in preparing me for college. First of all, I was placed in the remedial math class because my math skills did not meet the college level requirement. Luckily, my writing skills made the cut so I was able to skip the remedial English class.
I attended a public high school in an inner city area that had poor funding so I was not able to take advantage of the same things other high school students did. The counseling department was very minimal and did not provide students with the constant contact they need. Some of the advanced placement courses that I took in high school did not compare to the expectation of college level work. Final exams were not a big deal in my high school and I quickly learned that they are definitely a big deal in college. Since the school district, I attended had a bad reputation and a small budget, there was a high turnover rate among teachers and no real exposure to modern technology.
When it came time to begin college, I had to make sure that I was ready for all the college expectations. Fortunately, I was able to adapt quickly and found a useful tool to keep me on track, my planner.
As a commuter student with a job, I had to plan out my week and make sure I made time for my top priorities. In order to make my schedule work, I attended class two days per week and worked as a tutor at a nearby elementary school three days per week. It was hard to schedule all the 12 plus units into two full school days.
I often wished that I could focus only on my school work and not have to worry about making money for gas, food, books and other expenses. I also wondered what it would be like to live on campus and not have to worry about driving the 20 plus miles to school. However, I feel that every disadvantage I had then made me a better student and adult.
Graduate school was not as difficult for me because I was accustomed to working and going to school full time. My advice to you will be to take your situation and work with it, and if it helps, use a planner.
From Dr. Syl
P.S.- If you have any questions you would like answered, please submit them here. Stay tuned for the next segment of Ask Dr. Syl every 15th of the month!!