Graduating from high school and entrance to college is a novel experience for graduates. For most high school graduates, this signifies leaving their homes, families, friends, and everything they know. The truth is that it does not matter how well a high school graduate prepares before starting college, there is no way of knowing what to expect. The majority of college freshmen feel like a fish out of the water given that they are not accustomed to the strenuous workload, they are afraid of disappointing family, and they have difficulty in socially adjustment to their new environment and their new life as college students.
When students graduate from high school and proceed to college, the majority are torn, since they “feel both the eagerness to excel and the fear of failure” (Kidwell and Reising 253). Once college classes start, the majority of freshmen have problems, since they are not accustomed to having lenient professors and strenuous workloads. For example in high school, if a project is not turned in, the teacher surely grants an extension. This is different at college, as professors try to instill seriousness, responsibility, and professionalism in their students.
A second challenge that first-year students must overcome is the fear of disappointing family. Students are torn between their wishes and their sense of duty. This is the case of 18 year old Alli, who wishes to make her own choices. However, she is torn because she does not want to disappoint or embarrass her family. Alli’s story has important “implications for our understanding of the experience of first-generation college students” (Stieha 246), as most of them face the same dilemma.
Thirdly, it is hard for first-year students to socially adjust to their new lives as college students immediately. In college students need to accommodate to their new surroundings, make new friends, etc. This is not easy, especially for those who grew up in one place. In such cases, moving away from home and settling down someplace entirely new explains why they would feel like fish out of the water.
In attempting to ease the transition, many people believe that advice from teachers and counselors is the solution, as they help students build “strong relationships with social and academic adjustment” (Hudley et al. 463). There is also the belief that at high school teachers can help students prepare to the eventual transition to college by being more demanding. Furthermore, it may be argued that first-year students have troubles adjusting to college because they are lazy and lack of the necessary discipline.
The truth of the matter is that moving away from home, leaving behind a familiar surrounding, and heading off to college, is a traumatizing experience. As well, no matter how prepared a teenager thinks he/she is, and no matter how much guidance he/she is given, there is no way of guaranteeing that the transition to college life will be seamless. The future is unpredictable, and this makes it impossible to foresee all possible outcomes that may arise during a teenager’s first year of college life.
Every year new freshmen enter colleges and universities across the country, and every year it is found that most of them have problems adjusting to college life. Students feel like fish out of the water because they are not used to the workload, they are afraid of disappointing family, and they have a hard time socially adjusting to college life. Some people may argue that there is something that can be resolved through guidance and leniency, but the truth is that the first year of college is different for everyone, so there is no way of making any guarantees.