What I Go to School For

Sitting in a not-so-exciting class makes my mind wander. A lot. In my first class of the day, I spent quite a bit of time day-dreaming–mostly about that story I want to write about Hearst Castle. But as the clock slowly ticked by, I thought of a few things that are much different in college than in high school.

So here we have…

Things I Totally Took for Granted in High School

1. One hour classes.

They were absolutely endless in high school. It was all I could do to not fall asleep every day. I mean, I thought fifty-seven minutes was forever. Try two hours of a lecture that makes very little sense to what you are supposed to be talk about. Or two hours of your professor animatedly taking about the legends of Lancelot versus Lancelot in The Knight of the Cart. It is wild. I took a one-hour class last spring and I am in one now, and let me tell you, I feel like I leave class as soon as it starts.

2. Free scantrons.

How easy it was to just be given one before the test. Now I have to worry about buying the right one for the right class. Yup, that is right, there are several different kinds of scantrons. WHO KNEW? Granted, they are only a quarter per sheet, or a dollar for a small package (and by small I mean there are like five), and you really only need them for midterms or finals, but still. I would much rather not have to worry about making time to go to the student store. Oh, and blue books too. Those things suck.

3. Scheduled eating periods.

Because my schedule changes every ten weeks and often I am in class during lunch hour and even dinner sometimes, my eating schedule is way out of whack. During the summer, it was easy: breakfast before work, lunch on my break, dinner when I got home. Now it is coffee for breakfast because it is too early to be hungry, then eating when I get home close to noon. Or eating breakfast right before my noon class and snacking between classes and getting dinner after my four to six. Oh, and do not forget the library carb-loading to keep focus. And the late night snacking. Sorry, body.

4. A flat campus.

While I often had to climb a lot of stairs between classes–first floor, third, back to the first across campus, back to the third across campus again, lunch at home, and back to the third floor–it does not quite compare to stairs AND hills. This is not true for every campus, of course, but at Cal Poly, even when you are walking downhill, you are still walking uphill. Plus the stairs to the quiet floors of the library, walking to the other side of campus to get to my next class, and so on. Cal Poly is the biggest CSU, and it is also bigger than any UC [For those who are foreign to those acronyms: Cal State University, University of California], while my high school only took up about two blocks. I thought those stairs were hard? Nothing compared to the hills here.


However, there are many things that I love about college compared to high school. Obviously.

Reasons I Would Never Go Back to High School

1. Freedom

I can wake up when I want. I can go to sleep when I want. I can have sleepovers on school nights. I do not have Friday classes. I can wear whatever I want to class and not worry about getting dress code. I can skip class if I want to-don’t worry, Mom, I don’t. I love living under my own roof, and I would not trade that for anything.

2. The atmosphere.

Everyone is so happy here. I mean, we are all pumped for Thanksgiving break, so why wouldn’t we be? Of course, as soon as that glorious meal is over, we will all go back to stress-loading and spending all night in the library because of finals, but we power through. There are so many things I could name about Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo that make it the perfect place to go to school, and everyone feels the same way that I do. This mutual love (and great weather) makes living here wonderful.

3. Going off of that, everyone WANTS to be here.

In high school, I liked being in AP and honors classes because for the most part, those people were striving to do something more with their lives. Unfortunately, I did come across many a person who wanted nothing to do with school at all. They caused trouble and hated everything about learning. It was hard to be put in a group project with people who really want to be anywhere else–meaning my grade suffered. I was around people who do know want to do anything with their lives. Here, I am surrounded by people that have goals. People that actually want to be here and learn. People who care. It is awesome.

Granted, like I said, we all hate our lives right now because of the workload, but you do not see us giving up, do you?

4. Laptops in class.

While some professors do not allow it, more often than not, you will take a class where you can have your laptop out to take notes. Of course, we are all often on other websites as well as taking notes…but it rocks. I prefer to take notes by hand still because I retain it much better, but I can pull up a PDF of a textbook, look up something we are talking about, and access files online so I do not have to print them out. And check out the blog when time permits it. I can also answer texts and emails in a window next to my notes–multitasking.

5. Like laptops, your professor won’t hell hath no fury when your phone is out.

They won’t like it, that’s for sure, but if you just sit with it on your desk, they think it is chill. Sometimes they even tell you to take out your phones and look at something or take a text-in poll. You are not their responsibility (neither are your grades), so it is not their job to make sure you are paying attention.


Basically college is the bomb. There are things I definitely miss from before adulthood took over, but I would not trade college for anything. If you have read any part of my blog, you will know that college saved my life. But the lesson here is this: do not take scantrons and short classes for granted! When you are exhausted and stressed in a long lecture, you will miss them dearly.

Can’t wait for pie this weekend!

-Ash

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