Actual College Advice, Sans the Clickbait

by CD Turner 2 months ago in how to

Nervous about college and tired of the gimmicky ad-plagued "advice" columns? I'll tell you some real facts.

Actual College Advice, Sans the Clickbait

Most college memes baffle me with how lazy some people are... but then I take a huge bite of some humble pie, and remember that I dropped out of community college during my second year. And guess what, in the seven years in which I searched for jobs in this podunk town, I had about three. I hated them all, and quit embarrassingly quickly. Why is adult life so hard for me? I could have been born and raised without emotional trauma, but nope! Life fucking whipped me with that trauma-coated cat-o'-nine-tails and basted my raw wounds with lemon juice.

Contrived metaphors aside, I have actual advice for you. At least from someone who's been in community college, and is actively pursuing a second try and hopeful completion of a degree. Instead of giving you the generic college advice you read in every clickbait article on the face of the Earth, I'm gonna give you some real advice to take to heart.

5. Study for the placement test.

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No, I am not kidding. They do not allow you to have a calculator for most college placement tests. Even though most American high schools, at least the one I went to, taught secondary school level math classes heavily dependent on calculators. I don't mean to sound like a tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy nut, but they probably don't allow calculators so that you'll fail the minimum requirements for Math and English, so you have to pay an assload to take developmental classes, which are prerequisites for college-level math.

Freshen up on the things you've forgotten how to do since you started using calculators in class. Refresh your knowledge of spelling, grammar, and analyzing reading passages. Relearn how to do functions with fractions, decimals, percentages, ratios, algebraic formulas, geometrical equations, and reading graphs. I mean, if you want to waste the time taking the developmental classes, because you feel like you need it, be my guest. I just thought I would never have to subtract and add polynomials again, and I was sorely, sorely mistaken.

4. Don't bite off more than you can chew.

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Three to four classes is plenty for a first semester of college. Remember, this isn't high school. The homework will be on level with the amount you had taking AP classes. And if you think the "easy" classes won't have essays and shit to write, you will be very disappointed. Do not approach college with the pretense of getting an "easy ride." You do not pay for it to be easy. You're meant to learn on a collegiate level, which involves critical thinking, developing writing skills, and actually utilizing the skills you would use in a prospective job environment.

So, keep that in mind. I did this, took on way too many classes for a term, and I burned out quick, dropped all classes, and had a massive breakdown that lasted... what's today?

Nah, I'm kidding. Let's just say I had a complete breakthrough from a childhood filled with religious indoctrination that prevented me from the critical thinking necessary for college. I understand things way more logically now, and I am eager to learn. Took me till I was 26, but hey, better late than never!

3. Community college/technical college/vocational school/trade school is a valid option.

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If it's one thing I largely disagree with, it's American high schools pushing students into four-year universities, completely bowling over community college, vocational, technical, and trade schools. I, myself, was not blessed with two parents that both worked and accrued enough money to pay for a four-year university. And I'm glad they couldn't. I wouldn't have had my massive breakdown if I hadn't dropped out of community college and in turn, had my revelation that I've been living in a brainwashed hovel in my own mind. If community college was hard for me, a four-year university would have probably sent me into a psychotic break.

If the on-campus dorm room lifestyle just appeals to you and you have the means to go to a four-year university, then go for it. But quit shitting on the students who don't have such means. And don't give me that financial aid talk. Financial aid is largely based on your family's income, and if your family's income tows the line, you ain't getting shit. Recently, I was removed from my mother's insurance as it happens when an unemployed dependent American citizen does at 26, so I qualified for financial aid. Booyah, look who's going to college! "Why couldn't you go to a university though?" Because I have several mental issues that won't be fixed by a sudden, abrupt upheaval of my life to a completely new location. Hell, I can't even keep my room clean, what the hell am I going to do with a dorm? That leads me to another point...

2. Stress. It's going to happen. Drowning it in alcohol and various drug paraphernalia is gonna make it worse.

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College work is designed to not be easy. You don't learn from not being challenged. Because in real life, working at a real job, you also have work that will not be easy. That being said, if you're the party type that likes to suppress their feelings with booze and hard drugs, I can tell you right now that you're going to crash. You might get through a semester unscathed, but eventually you're going to have to decide whether you want a rewarding career or to become a professional drug addict, swimming in the college debt that you can't pay for, because you decided to party instead of learn. Partying on the weekends is fine in moderation, but even the partiest of party schools will kick your ass out if your grades slip too low, you're caught with illegal drugs or narcotics, you're underage drinking, and many other offenses outlined in your code of conduct book that you use as a coaster.

1. You are an adult now. Act like it. College is not high school.

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I am alarmed at how many students I see that think are they above the rules, because their daddies give donations to the school, or they abuse the sports scholarship by being a disruptive asshole in class that never does any work. Yes, I am biased. But no matter what economic or age group you come from, you are not Darwin's gift to higher education. You don't deserve special privileges because you're a college basketball star or a trust-fund baby that never did their own work.

You know that one nerd in the class that the "popular" kids pretend to befriend to copy off of? Yeah, I was that nerd. And let me tell you, I am fucking jaded as hell. You ask me if you can copy my homework, you bet your ass I am saying no. Oh, you didn't finish your homework, because you had to go to a party last night while I stayed up till 1 AM painstakingly getting all my assignments finished? Tough shit, get lit, them's the breaks, your mistakes.

Let me tell you something: If you are in an American college, you, your parents, or government assistance are paying for these classes. I am not talking about the kids that are pressured into going to four-year universities by their parents even though they wanted to take up a trade. I'm talking about the spoiled kids that think that having enough money will excuse them from having to do any work.

I have a feeling I'm going to make enemies by not letting people use me for test answers or papers. But part of becoming an adult is deciding which friends are actually your friends, or fake fairweather friends that are more toxic than beneficial to your college experience. If you are being bullied because of this, tell your advisers. There is no excuse for bullying, especially in a college environment. I have my own attitude to deal with, I don't need to joust with another one.

College can be fun, college can be difficult, and college can just be plain stressful at times. But always, always, always take your education seriously. You may not believe it now, but this is your gateway into a rewarding career. The real friends you meet along the way may just become your best friends for life.

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CD Turner

I write stories and articles. Sometimes they're good.

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