The Freshman Files: College vs. High School

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Last Tuesday, my English class went on a trip to Arthur Avenue to analyze the “Italian-American” cuisine. We borrowed a van courtesy of Manhattan College athletics and my professor drove all eight of us through the Bronx. As we filed into markets, butchers, pasta and pastry shops all I could think was “this would have never happened in high school.”

The great competition between high school and college is something like an old sibling rivalry.

In high school they tell us that in college the only grades are the midterm and final, that if you don’t use MLA format you might as well throw your paper in the garbage and that if you are late to class the doors will be locked and you will be out of luck.

Up to now, college has disagreed. A majority of classes have a quiz every week. Professors, not teachers, have asked us repeatedly to use APA format because we are “older and wiser” now. And there is no high-tech sensor that locks all the doors as soon as the class begins.

What are the other stark differences between high school and college we’ve experienced so far?

One notable difference for most of us is that we are not as coddled as we were in high school.

“College is different than high school because not only are you on your own, but the teachers are different,” Dan Dixon, a freshman diver for MC said. “They move at a faster pace, and they won’t track you down or remind you when you miss a test or quiz.”

For other freshmen college is different because it creates more opportunities for us to experience something totally new.

“College offers more than high school ever could,” freshman [redacted] said. “If you are like me, you went through that awkward high school stage where you just felt out of place. Here, you get to start over and let people see the person you have always wanted to be.”

And the best part about these new chances is that without college applications looming in the back of our minds, we can pick and choose multiple extra-curricular activities simply for enjoyment—not as something to look impressive to admissions offices.

However, not every freshman at MC is in a state of change. Some are commuters, who come to school every morning and go home every night. Some students stay on campus during the week but leave during the weekend.

One commuter student, Jackie Staiano, describes how sometimes college isn’t all that different than her high school years and how hopping in the car every day to drive to and from school continues to be an everyday routine.

“I went away for a year to study in Italy so living back at home is a good choice for me for now,” she said. “Even though I don’t live in the dorms I still made friends and stay at school when I can to hangout.”

This all doesn’t mean that one kind of education is better than the other. We love them both the same, just for different reasons.

UPDATE (August 1, 8:25 p.m. EDT): A source previously listed in this article has requested their name be removed.