The biggest challenge in college, so far, for me has actually been the act of going back to college. I tried going for the first time when I was just out of high school. I took two semesters at a local community college back home and it was nearly disastrous. I thought I wanted to be an art teacher, but I wasn’t the least bit serious about doing all the hard work to get me there. I was more interested in skipping classes to hang out with my friends, or sleep in. I dropped classes, without actually dropping them, and without regard for the impact it might have on my future.
So now I’m 31 and just starting my bachelor’s degree. Getting through my associates at St. Louis Community College felt like a very rough start. It had been quite some time since I was in a public classroom; I had forgotten some of the basics, like how to study effectively, time management, and how to write a research paper. The last class I had taken was in the military, where certain rules are understood and followed without question. In the public school system I was shocked and distracted by people talking when the teacher was teaching, openly arguing with the teacher, texting on their phones, putting their feet on the desk, and wearing hats indoors (that one will always be ingrained in my mind). I was equally shocked to find that the teachers didn’t do a whole lot to stop the behavior; I was so used to seeing people getting put on their faces for pushups if they disrupted class. I guess you could say one of my biggest challenges was a type of culture shock.
Over time the shock wore off because I knew what to expect when I entered a classroom. It also helped that each semester I moved up in the classes I was taking, the lessons were harder and the people in the classes were more serious. Now that I’m at Fontbonne I’ve completely gotten over my culture shock. It really helps that the classes are so small and the whole environment is more relaxed to allow for freedom of creativity. I still struggle with research papers, but all the challenges have been more than worth it. Cheers!