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The Transition from High School to College

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 @ 10:31 AM

An IvyWise Student Talks About the Transition to College

transition to collegeI led a relatively sheltered life before leaving for college. As an only child whose parents wanted to ensure that I remained focused, I had been enrolled at an all-girls school for seven years. To their horror, I ultimately chose to attend the farthest school I applied to—Washington University in St. Louis, a shocking 16-hour drive from my home in New Jersey.

A cheeky high school graduate who couldn’t wait to start this new adventure, I bought my parents Letting Go: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the College Years as their “graduation gift.” While I was slightly anxious, I was also ready for a new beginning. Within an hour of sending my deposit, I had joined the Class of 2013 Facebook group, requested to be friends with everyone in my pre-orientation program and dorm floor, and written on multiple discussion boards. I was ecstatic.

By the time move-in date finally rolled around, I had talked to classmates with majors ranging from Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. While I had expected the transition to college to be an eye-opening experience, I had not foreseen all the different interests I would encounter. My first month was marked with a professor asking me to serenade her during office hours to practice better projecting my voice, a group of friends blindfolding me and leading me to the St. Louis Arch to celebrate my inauguration into Student Union, and countless phone calls to my mom while walking to and from classes.

While I love these unique experiences and unexpected surprises, I also love my daily life and have fallen into a fairly comfortable routine. On a random day, I might discuss an upcoming Global Economy project over breakfast with several classmates at Einstein Bros. Bagels, attend a Business Strategy class, lead a campus tour for prospective Washington University students, study for my Market Competition and Value Appropriation exam, meet my suitemates for dinner, work on my paper for Management Communication, and meet up with friends for gelato and crepes at Ursa’s, my favorite on-campus café.

As a rising junior, I have experienced quite a few aspects of college and can pass on several pieces of advice to those students just embarking on their college journey:

  • Visit your professors during office hours—they’re really not that intimidating and actually enjoy talking to students. These relationships may also help you when you ask for letters of recommendation for jobs or graduate school.
  • Go out to that Justin Bieber concert on a Monday night—it’s worth it; trust me. Don’t forget to manage your time well though!
  • Skype with your parents often—you’ll find yourself missing them more than you might imagine.

College may be the best four years of your life. I wish you good luck with the transition, have a wonderful time, and make the most of your own college experience!

Sarah Shanahan

Written by Sarah Shanahan

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