Author: Malika Carey, Rocky River High School ’12, Western Carolina University ’16
Entering my junior year at Rocky River High School, college was on the top of my mind. Luckily my school was granted a College Adviser, Ms. Humphrey, who helped me get accepted to my top choice of college, as well as many others. She assisted me when signing up for my S.A.T’s, which may seem trivial, but it was a big deal. She also helped me by giving me advice, and helping me edit my essays for college.
My experience of being in college so far has been amazing! I attend Western Carolina University (WCU) which offers me a great amount of opportunities that I was not presented with back home. Some of the opportunities that I have been presented with include meeting new people, having the opportunity to go Greek, and also the challenge of college courses.
I received first-dibs on meeting new people at my college. I attended a summer bridge program called Academic Success Program (ASP). ASP is known on campus as a learning community, which means you live with people to build better relationships and develop networking skills that you will use in the future. ASP is specifically for incoming freshmen, and you live in one dorm building together for a total of 6 weeks while taking summer classes. Yes summer classes when you are supposed to be enjoying your last summer as a “kid” sounds bad, but when you think about it, summer school gets the better hand. You are living on a college campus taking college courses, and raising your grade point average (GPA). While taking a little over half of a full schedule, you are getting adjusted to “college life.” I worked very hard the entire summer and graduated ASP with a GPA of 3.76 which is high enough for me to be invited to the Honors College at Western.
College classes are on a different level than they were in high school (even taking honors classes). I started the year with 17 credit hours and realized that was entirely too much on my plate, and had to drop 2 major classes because of the difficulty. I thought with only 13 hours I should be good, considering I was an “A honor roll student” all through my high school career; therefore I was expecting nothing different while I was in college. Teachers don’t hover over you with grades and that was a big adjustment. Here it was the moment of truth, 5th week grades were being posted online. I was not prepared to look at them because I knew they were not all A’s, not even all B’s. All of the distractions that are in “College Life” hit me, and they hit me hard. The grades in my mind were TERRIBLE! I knew if I wanted to get invited into the Honors College, I’d better “bust my butt” working hard as I possibly could to pull those grades up. Week 8 came and it was time for grades to get posted once again. I was so excited, because I had 3 B’s and 2 A’s! Granted there is still room for improvement, but they are much better than the unspeakable grades I had at the 5th week mark. Because I was in the learning community at Western called (ASP), my grades will get published again before the final.
College is an amazing opportunity and if you take advantage of the help your College Adviser gives you, and pursue the colleges of your choosing then good luck to you, and I wish you the best. Spending 6 weeks over the summer, and 8 weeks in the fall Semester at WCU, I feel confident in myself that I will continue to love my school and take pride in it. GO CATS!!