By JANELLE BEHM
For many, graduating high school means entering a university for four years. Others enter the workforce. I on the other hand, decided to go to community college for two years to get my general education out of the way before coming to the University of Mary Washington.
It saved me a lot of money, but it did not challenge me academically. I came to UMW last fall. I joined clubs and made new friends, but I struggled in classes. I did not feel prepared for the different learning styles and ways of thinking. I didn’t feel prepared to think critically. In community college and high school classes, the final grade was made up of more than a midterm test and a final.
I personally did not feel prepared for the grading format. Realizing that I needed to work harder to make the grades that I wanted, challenged me to be able to think deeper into topics and immerse myself in class discussions. It taught me that my education will not just be handed to me. I had to figure out how to properly learn the material and not just memorize it like I did in high school and community college.
When I came to UMW, I didn’t know a lot of people. I did not know the clubs or the social dynamics. I didn’t know which professors were better than others, and above all, I didn’t know what to expect. People the same age as me had already been here for two years and had created a foundation and a friend group. I am here to tell you that it is possible to create a foundation your junior year.
Over the course of my first semester at UMW, I had my failures and I had my successes.
Because of those, I have become a better student. I go to office hours and I can apply what I am learning in one class to another class. All things most students figure out their freshman year I figured out a couple years later. Transferring my junior year has not only pushed me as a student, but also helped me grow as a person.
I am not alone in this experience. I know a lot of students at UMW who have gone through the same process that I’m going through. Establishing in two years what others create in four is possible. It is up to you to make these next couple years worthwhile. For some it is an easy adjustment, for others, it just takes some time.