One of my readers suggested on Facebook that I write a post detailing my experience with my first year of college. I approve of this idea, so here we are.
Going into college my immediate thoughts were that this is terrible. In my mind, college was school (read: hell) except you had to pay thousands of dollars to attend. Which was, and still is, absurd. But at the same time it seemed unavoidable. I had and to some extent still have the mindset that college is absolutely necessary for getting a job that will get me enough money to, you know, survive. Which made me generally annoyed at the whole thing.
That said, once it actually started it was quite a bit easier than high school. All of my professors were far more personable and willing to actually work with me, plus the fact that I didn’t have to be there for eight hours a day and then do homework. It was generally a lot easier to understand what was required of me and why and that meant it was something I could actually do.
First semester was pretty good. I came out of that on the dean’s list and all. It was essentially high school with all the problems removed, and that made it infinitely more bearable. Second semester…not so much. I live forty minutes away from campus, in my parents’ basement. In other words, living the nerd dream. This is because of a couple of factors, chief among them cost. I already think the whole “go massively into debt” thing is overrated and as such I want to avoid dumping more money into this gaping sinkhole of a scam, so I’ll live where I’m charged essentially no rent, thanks very much.
Additionally it means I don’t have to tolerate roommates in the conventional sense – my family and I are already more or less acclimated to each others’ quirks and I’ve two friends who both lived on-campus and the experience has been less than desirable. One of them had a roommate who was generally a terrible person and noisy neighbors who banged on the walls if he made any noise in return, the other had a phenomenally intrusive fraternity who didn’t seem to grasp basic scheduling common sense.
So, living forty minutes away, I realized my college offered a very nice selection of courses to be taken online. Classes I don’t even have to leave my little Batcave-slash-apartment for? Where do I sign up? The convenience was unbelievable, plus the amount of money I’d save on gas and general auto maintenance (since I’m already running my car near-constantly as a pizza delivery guy)…it was, at the time, a perfectly reasonable decision.
Unfortunately it didn’t pan out. Partly due to the ever-present problems with math courses but also because of problems inherent to both my schoolwork techniques as well as the online classes. I hate busywork – I’ve ranted at length on the subject, so I won’t go into details here if I can help it. But in an online class environment, the instructors have no way of gauging participation and your grasp of the material other than swamping you in quizzes, worksheets and other meaningless wastes of your time. This, by the way, directly from a counselor who teaches some classes online and some in person. It’s simply how things are done and that combined with asking me to schedule my own work periods…yeah. I’m not on the dean’s list anymore, let’s just leave it there.
So I’ve at least learned something. Gone massively into debt in the process, which is asinine, but there you go. I’m not taking summer classes currently – I need that time to get some other things settled and generally prepare myself for the oncoming fall semester – that plus only one of my friends is taking these classes and with friends in short supply I’d like to maximize my time with them. Anyway, cheers readers. Feel free to ask questions or suggest things you’d like to hear my perspective on – I run short on ideas sometimes so I welcome the assistance.