At first, attending college just 123 miles away from home seemed like living in a different world. In high school, teachers and counselors fondly reminisce about their years in college to ease our concerns and excite us about our futures, but I learned it is something you must experience to actually understand.
Even with the major differences from high school to college, such as eight-hour days and personally knowing your teacher versus three-hour days and large impersonal lecture halls, I began to sense a level of comfort and belonging. The workload is different in college compared to high school, but the adjustment turned out to be painless.
As I reflected back on my transition from Cleveland NJROTC to Mizzou, I realized how much my education at Saint Louis Public Schools prepared me for college and life on my own. I was fortunate to be academically challenged in classes and professionally developed through the Junior Naval Academy curriculum.
Attending an SLPS high school – with a fully-integrated ROTC academy – transformed me into a disciplined scholar. My senior year, I held the rank of company commander. In this role, I was in charge of making many decisions regarding the 11th grade students. It was empowering to be trusted and respected enough to make important decisions regarding a group of my peers. The experience prepared me for future leadership roles.
I made sure to take advantage of AP classes in high school because I knew the classes would challenge and prepare me for post-secondary rigor. I attribute the demanding work load in AP courses for my swift transition in college. Instead of selecting easy electives classes to boost my grade point average, I tackled harder courses, so by the time I arrived in college I would be ready.
I am in the second semester of my freshman year at Mizzou, and my grades have been strong. I attribute my successful start to my guidance counselor at Cleveland NJROTC. She drilled in my head that it would not be easy, but with focus and dedication I could be successful. She made sure that I recognized that I would have to pay attention to details, work hard, and remain accountable for my own actions. She also provided me with a list of information about college resources for tutors, study groups and other contacts that would help me.
My high school teachers often reminded me about many things that my professors would not allow. I remember an instance where my counselor gave me a scholarship application, and I kept procrastinating. A few days before the scholarship was due, my counselor sat me in her office and made sure I completed the application in front of her. She then lectured me on the importance of making deadlines and prioritizing.
I learned that if I managed my time I could avoid stress. When I first arrived on campus, I mismanaged my time. You could call it an adaption period. Understanding and learning how to manage my time in high school ultimately helped me once I arrived in college.
If I had to give any advice to other high school students on ways to prepare for college, I would tell them the transition from high school to any college will never be easy, but they’ll get the hang of it fairly soon as long as they remember the lessons they have learned.