College, Like Travel, Can Be a Big Culture Shock

(As an aside: I wish I had something to contribute to the wonderful Greek discussions below, but alas, I will have to bore you with the differences between high school and college …)

When you travel to new places, there are whole lists of rules and customs you have to get used to. When I was in the Philippines this summer, crossing the road itself was a whole new cultural ordeal: while here, we can safely rely on crossing signs; pedestrians in the Philippines have to trust their confidence and daring when walking into traffic. As it happens, deathly eye contact with the incoming driver will almost ensure that he or she will stop for you. Or at least stop a foot away from you.

Attending college for the first time is a lot like experiencing a new culture. There are different customs that you have to learn, much different from those in high school. I’ve listed a few of those customs that I’ve found most important when it comes to acculturating to CNU.

High school: Teachers will constantly remind you when assignments are due.
College: The course syllabus will tell you exactly what is expected of you; professors expect you to know what is going on every week. Forgot to turn in an assignment because you didn’t know about it? Learn from my experience and tape the syllabus on your dresser if you have to (I plead guilty to that).

High School: Teachers provide you with information and assignments you missed when you were absent.
College: Professors will expect that you get notes and assignments from fellow classmates. Making some “class friends” is always to your benefit, and a little of altruism is not a bad idea; you never know when you’ll need someone’s help! (Of course, by altruism, I don’t mean sharing all of your notes with the less than motivated student next to you.)

High School: Your parents and guidance counselors will be there to help you make decisions.
College: Yes, you can still call your parents or talk to advisers if you need it, but in college, you will face a great number of decisions, including choosing a major, getting involved in activities or finding jobs. College is a great time to figure out how to prioritize your goals and make choices based on your own needs.

High School: Teachers will approach you if they think you need help in class.
College: I can only emphasize how open and helpful professors are at CNU, but they’ll expect you to initiate contact with them if you need assistance. Building relationships with your professors and showing that you are genuinely interested in the course is also a good place to start.

It can all be pretty intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of things, college life will be a breeze!

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