My Year As A Common Goal For Most College Students

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There are multiple reasons why a person would go to college, but obtaining a degree is a common goal for most. A degree, students believe, would secure their futures and push them more towards their desired career, but does this imply that they value the degree over the learning process they go through to obtain it? According to Cathy Small in her essay, “My Year as a Freshman: Connections to the Path Ahead,” students are eager to learn in college, but continue to credit their experiences outside school in teaching what is most important. Although their experiences in the “real world” teach these students life skills that can be beneficial to them in the future, they can learn lessons just as valuable in the classroom. The pressure to succeed academically makes students stressed, apathetic, and unmotivated to take advantage of their potential to learn actively. Freshman year is particularly a stressful time for most college students. Small, in her personal quest as a “freshman,” was quick to notice how busy a student’s life could be. She mentions national statistics that show “students are studying less, but are socializing less because they are pressed by other demands.” Students have to put effort in each of their classes to pass, work part-time jobs to support themselves and pay their tuition, join clubs and make friends, volunteer, exercise, and maintain good grades to prepare for professional school or a future career. Not all students may have the same responsibilities, but balancing school with anything else can be difficult. Freshmen, before coming into college, may still have a passive mindset from their senior year of high school or an overly-optimistic mindset expecting all fun and freedom in college. Once they start ... ... middle of paper ... ...m college loses its merit if the student does not acquire more knowledge during the process of earning his or her degree. The lack of engagement in learning is real and because the idea of going to school has been thought of negatively from the pressures and stress classes give, many students fail to see how their academics translate into the “real world.” Making the connection between school and the “real world,” according to Small, “we would not want a university to become so immersed in the world that it can neither critique that world nor proffer an ideal vision of how else it might be.” Despite that, if students approach college with the idea that college can be like the “real world,”, they may be able to understand how all aspects of their college experience, in and out of the classroom, can enrich them with valuable lessons that prepare them for their future.
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