Starting college can be intimidating. You’re carefully venturing into an adult life where you are expected to be mature and responsible, and you mistakenly think that because you’re pursuing an online liberal studies degree that your instructors expect you to know something about the industry you’d like to go into, but how could you? You haven’t learned anything yet!
This is where your upper classmen come in. They’ve been you – they’ve already been through the same thing you are just starting. Unlike high school where the upper classmen were out to make you feel foolish, in college, they mostly want to finish out their year and be done without too much thought about you. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions and for advice. If you’re pursuing a similar degree, and you can connect with someone in their junior or senior year, they are the best to advise you on classes and instructors, etc. because hey, they’ve been there!
How They Can Help
Another major difference between college and high school is that everyone wants to be there.When you meet up with people that are in the same program, you immediately can make a connection in the fact that you share common interests. Part of the enjoyment of college is being able to talk about those subjects you’re studying. When you’ve just heard a lecture on a new subject, and you’re having difficulty understanding how it relates to your major, instead of searching the internet, ask someone who has taken the class before. This way you are building relationships and networking while getting answers to your questions from a reliable and useful source. Another benefit of discussing your questions with an upperclassmen rather than a professor, is that they are much closer to your understanding. They remember having the same questions you have, so they can relate quickly and hone in on what it is you need to know and generally without making you feel silly for asking.
What’s in it for Them
Besides the fact that they can help you, they learn from helping you. They are better equipped as they take their degree out into the world to translate what they’ve learned into real world circumstances, because they’ve had a chance to practice what they’ve learned with you. College is the first chance they, and you, have to really experience what it’s like to focus on one field. In college, it’s your field of study. In life, it’s your career field. Because you are both there for the same reason, to start your adult life, you will be able to connect on a level you were never able to connect with high school friends. If they are open to being your mentor, be kind and soak in the knowledge!
So, don’t be intimidated by the upper classmen. You’ll discover they are happy to help you on your new endeavor and when you are the upperclassman, you can be the support that new students need. The best way to solidify your knowledge is through teaching someone else!