It’s no secret that as students get older, classes get harder. Curriculums get more and more challenging as you move up the education ladder one year at a time, so graduating high school seniors will rightfully assume college classes are going to be significantly more difficult. This is a correct assumption, but a number of myths surrounding the subject of university courses tend to take over students’ minds as well. Here are a few myths debunked.
#1: You’ll only have to take classes you’re actually interested in.
The key word that makes this myth untrue is only. Of course, when you get to college you’ll be choosing a major and signing up for courses related to that major, and therefore learning about something you indeed care about. However, most of that doesn’t happen until around junior year. Sure, you’ll be taking a few [Insert Major Here] 101’s initially, but that will just be in the midst of all the Gen Ed’s a.k.a. General Education Courses you’ll be taking as well. Yes, you are still required to get even more education in Math, Science, English, etc. regardless of what your major is. So don’t get rid of that scientific calculator just yet and make sure you still have a thesaurus handy, because colleges care about you getting a well-rounded education just as much as high school did.
#2: You can skip class whenever you want with no repercussions.
This may be true in the sense that your professor won’t be calling your parents to condemn your behavior and give you a detention – but there are other consequences to skipping too much class in college. First off, some professors of smaller classes deduct points from your overall grade for every time you are absent, and that definitely adds up. But even if this is regarding a giant lecture and the professor puts the slides online, it’s still just not a good idea to skip too frequently. Especially since college classes are as we pointed out, significantly harder, the difference physically being there makes is huge. Actually hearing the professor speak, working with other students, and being part of the discussion will make the learning process a lot easier than if you decide to just read the notes online or get them from a friend. Odds are you aren’t going to be reading those notes in-depth when you skip class anyway.
#3: It’s just one giant philosophical discussion all the time.
Anytime you turn on the TV and find college students in class, a very mature, highly intellectual and stimulating conversation is taking place. Huge words are being used, notable authors are being quoted, and major theories are being questioned. The truth is, classes in college will still bore you and won’t always be this intriguing. This is not to say that you will never experience this kind of invigorating discussion, because you will – college is in fact a whole different ballpark and a more intense world of academia. But you cannot go into it expecting nothing but excitement; the same lectures, busy work, and classroom procedures do exist past high school, just on a more challenging level.
#4: Your schedule is totally up to you.
The prospect of getting to pick your own classes during whichever days and times please you the most is quite satisfying – if only it were that easy. Yes, you get to pick all of these things, but so do a bunch of other students, and specific classes/time slots fill up fast. If you’re not fast enough, you may end up having to take that 8 a.m. Monday/Wednesday/Friday or have a Tuesday of back-to-back lectures all afternoon followed by a three-hour night class. The point is, this freedom in scheduling can be fantastic, and it can be awful. It just depends on how prepared you are to choose and when your registration time is compared to the rest of the student body. Sometimes, you may be missing that set 1st-7th period schedule high school sheltered you with.
One common conception of college classes that is certainly not a myth, however, is how big your assignments will be. Seriously, no one is joking about that one. Be ready for hundreds of pages of reading due in two days or a 10-page paper due by the end of the week. Late nights at the library with coffee in hand will not be avoided. In the end though, the complexity and higher standards of college classes will truly be beneficial to you, because all of these aspects train you to be tougher and more equipped to tackle bigger intellectual issues – and really make you ready for the professional world.