I wrote previously about my experiences in online education. Now, I turn to the adjustment away from a totally online education to a more “normal” hybrid experience.
The first big leap came in June 2010, a month after I completed my last semester as a high school student. I can’t say I became a full-time college student at that time, because I only took two classes that summer (and both ended up being life-changing, in a number of ways… but more on that another time).
The thing about community college is that, in my experience, it’s more compact and more diverse. Many of the friends I made at my college are in their mid- to late-20s and some are even in their early-30s, but I found that, in most cases, people cared more about the work that was being done than the age of the person doing the work.
With some minor (and some major) exceptions, it was a welcoming environment, which was really important for me.
In 2009 I was invited to become a member of Phi Theta Kappa, an honors society for two-year colleges. In fall 2010 I became secretary of my college’s chapter, and ran for president the following spring (I lost, but this ended up being a blessing in disguise). That same spring (2011), I joined the Honors Program at my college, and in December I completed the colloquium portion of the program when I presented, for close to an hour, on my project about modern American conservatism. I made a good handful of friends at around this time.
|The crest of Phi Theta Kappa,
an international honors society.
Now I’m at the University of Arizona, studying English and communication. I’m also in the Honors College.
When you get into the habit of doing all of your work online, it’s definitely a big change once you have to start physically attending classes. But community college prepared me way more than staying in high school two more years would have.
The adjustment from community college to university has been a big one, too, but not as drastic as it would have been had I stayed in that particular high school. There are a handful of people who went to my college who are now attending this university, and I’m in contact with a couple of them regularly.
The points I made in my previous post still stand: Life is more than what’s on the screen. Being social is scary as hell, but it’s worth it, more often than not.
You simply have to put yourself out there. You can’t grow if you stay in your shell.