The Real (College) World


On Thursday Dec. 18 Lodi High School alumni hosted an assembly to help inform juniors and seniors about how college life really is. Among the visitors were Joseph, a freshman at St. Peter’s University, Paola, a sophomore at Bergen Community College, Mika, a sophomore at Rutgers University, Shyam, a sophomore at Caldwell University, Nick, a sophomore at Misericordia University, and Jake, who also goes to Bergen Community College as a sophomore. They discussed topics such as choosing majors, dorming, financial issues, and their personal experiences so far. Their advice to the students included Paola emphasizing that, “If you think ‘oh, school trained me to go to school at 8 o’clock’, it’s awful and don’t do that to yourselves.” But Mika and Shyam comment that it depends more on the person and circumstamces, for example, Shyam is a morning person and likes to get his classes done early, but he also couldn’t get some classes later in the day because they clashed with others. The point is that you can customize your own schedule, and college will work around yours.

Paola and Jake are both part of the STARS program at BCC, they talked about their total expenses, which doesn’t surpass $1000 per semester, and what their classes. They are able to take their core classes plus electives included in the program, get their associates after 2 years, travel abroad, and then transfer to another university or college for their bachelor’s. If they maintain their GPA they are eligible for scholarships and grants when transferring, and they also stay in the STARS program.

All five alumni emphasized that it is perfectly fine to not know what to major in as it is better to explore different courses the first two years of college. Also, your major could always be changed, you could double major, or minor. Jake aptly states that, “Being a college freshman is like being a high school senior, and you’re awarded as much freedom.” Shyam encourages students to join clubs and activities in college because it allows you to meet and connect with other students. Nick is an athlete and attends Misericordia under a football scholarships; he explains that as an athlete, it is important to be able to balance your classes, studying, and playing.

Shyam, Mika, Paola, Nick, Joe, and Jake all agree that professors in college don’t accept excuses or give second chances like in high school. College is all about new experiences and learning what is needed to succeed in life, from core math and English, to etiquette and civics. A real job will not accept tardiness or excuses, neither will your professors, and that’s what college prepares you for. It also forces you to socialize and meet all kinds of people; you will attend college with adults and people who are going back for second and even third degrees; this environment exposes you to a world of possibilities, presents you with obstacles and challenges, and allows you to be more open.