4 Things I Wish I Knew Before College

images (6)By Amanda Szramiak — Before coming to Marquette, I went to a college preparatory Jesuit high school.

The rigorous curricula, strict teachers, and hefty expectations were “guaranteed” to prepare me for college. My high school’s mission statement reads, “To form young women and men for meaningful lives of leadership and service in imitation of Jesus Christ through a college preparatory education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition.”

However, I had a rude awakening during my first year at Marquette, and I realized that high school had only prepared me for a portion of what I was to encounter in college. Although I was prepared academically and even spiritually for Marquette, I was nowhere near equipped to live on my own. In recent conversations with my cooperating teacher, we discussed “the hidden curriculum,” something I (shamefully) have never heard of.

While the “formal” high school curriculum is comprised of the courses, lessons, and learning activities students participate in, as well as the knowledge and skills educators intentionally teach to students, the hidden curriculum consists of the unspoken academic, social, and cultural messages that are communicated to students while they are in school… or not communicated, as it were.

Overall, the education I received at my high school was one of the best, but I do wish they would’ve taught me a few more things.

 4 Things I Wish High School Taught Me

Time Management Skills
I thought juggling school, sports, and friends in high school was tough. Then I came to college, and I realized I could essentially pick one to excel in at a time. The only glimpse of time management I had in high school was the mandatory study hall; however, I quickly outsmarted the system. I scheduled my study halls to be the last hour of the day, which meant early release everyday for Amanda. High school clearly taught me how to take the easy way out, which I realized college does not have.

Resume and Job Interviewing Skills
For my high school jobs, I used Word Document resume templates. Looking back at them now, they are pretty pathetic. When I came to college, I (thankfully) had my older sister to spruce up my resume. While I was prepared academically for jobs, I had no idea how to “sell myself” in an interview. I think my high school could have easily tied in mock job interviews to a speech class.

College Professors are A LOT Different
I was extremely close with the majority of my teachers in high school. I had relationships with almost all of them, and I was incredibly fond of them. My teachers in high school went above and beyond to help me grow as a student, and I definitely took that for granted. I quickly realized college professors (at least in my first two years) are a lot different than high school teachers. To most of my general education teachers, I was just another face. I actually had one professor start the first day of class with, “Listen. I don’t care if you come to class. I don’t care if you don’t do homework. I just don’t care.” Marquette emphasized the small classes to ensure professor/student relationships, and I was pretty shocked when I had five classes freshman year with over 100 students in them. I will say the professors in my upper division Education and English classes are much like my high school teachers.

My Mom was Always Right
High school was a rocky time for my mother and mine’s relationship. We fought a lot, and the fights were usually about really stupid things. I thought going to the high school hockey game was the most important thing in the world on a Saturday night, and she did not. She was right. She was always, always right. Don’t tell her I said that!

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