The Daily Eastern News

Forget high school; get involved in college

Tom O'Connor, Columnist

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High school, which lasts from the year 4 B.C.E. (before the college era) to the year 1 B.C.E., can be a pretty polarizing topic.

Each fall, students wave goodbye to the 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. routine, jamming their belongings into a minivan, before settling in at one of the 5,300 or so universities across the United States.

Some may have deemed high school to be a sanctuary of sorts, an establishment where lunch reservations always arrived at 12:30 p.m.

Others likely winced at the very sound of the alarm bell, by no means understanding how anyone could find solace in such a structured, invariable framework.

Regardless as to whether or not a particular student found high school to be gratifying, college has the potential to be a turning point for them, so long as they take an oath to change.

The process of eliminating or adjusting prior tendencies, especially those that pertain to course work, social engagement and club involvement, require an ability to detect shortcomings without belittling past achievements.

An unremarkable high school experience does not need to be a harbinger for what the next four years might entail.

Post-secondary institutions enable those unimpressed with the way in which high school transpired to start anew.

Beginning with just a simple commitment, plans for a renovation, or, if need be, a complete demolition to old habits, should be developed.

When I was in high school, my efforts could most aptly be described as inconsistent.

On both the academic and social fronts, I asserted a desire to realign my studying practices, while hoping to engage with classmates more regularly, but never came to effectuate these aspirations, largely due to a sincere lack of direction.

I went through those years stuck in a chasm, void of both socialization and academic fulfillment.

Those who choose to participate in campus organizations, whether for academic purposes or just for leisure, will discover a fertile landscape, one potentially conducive to attaining friendship and, most imperative of all, better grades.

High school students are confined to a limited volume of social enterprises, providing, at most, 10 to 15 clubs for students to join.

The student life office’s role, however, is like a switchboard operator, plugging students into what Eastern has to offer and connecting them to the clubs, about 150 in all, that correlate with their interests.

Simply attending such gatherings will prove advantageous, as campus functions necessitate the use of time management strategies, therefore staving off procrastination.

Then, once a student has begun to regularly attend these meetings, it must be considered how to best make use of this freshly developed time.

With a more efficient application of the school day, students acquire educational savvy, allowing them to visit professors during office hours, utilize the writing center and maintain a preservative focus.

What distinguishes higher education from high school is not so much the course load, expectations or even the surroundings, but rather its trove of opportunities that, when exploited, allow for self-growth.

George Santayana, a late 19th and mid-20th century poet, once posited that, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

A seamless transition from high school to college must adhere to the same logic.

Tom O’Connor is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.
Forget high school; get involved in college