At the beginning of the school year, I wrote a post on what college must be like, based on my high school experiences. Now, as I am in a college class (albeit an online one), I can give a more accurate picture of the college experience. Here are a few things I’ve noticed as the school year has begun:
• College professors may or may not care about late work.
So far, my fellow classmate, who is assigned to work on the course at the same time as I am, has turned in a total of six assignments late. She has not offered any excuse for doing this. Either our professor didn’t notice, or our professor doesn’t care. Some professors I’ve heard about definitely would not be fine with this; a friend of mine who graduated last year has a professor who will not take assignments even a minute late. Though perhaps our professor doesn’t actually exist, and we are being gradually brainwashed by a robot. Hey, gotta do something to get through the long hours of block day, why not dream big?
• College classes teach in an entirely different manner than high school ones.
Instead of structuring lessons around units and all lessons in a unit going together nicely, we have currently studied pre-European America, China’s empire, the Salem witchcraft trials, the ethics of slavery, and Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity Narrative. This has been interesting, and probably a lot more fun than whatever those smart kids are doing in AP US History. Plus, since the class is discussion-based, we spend less time memorizing dates and more time arguing with each other.
• College classes are a good way to meet strange people.
Online, people tend to be far less inhibited about what they say, and may reveal their knowledge or lack of it in the most amusing ways possible. For example, when we had our discussion on the Columbian Exchange, I learned about the crops brought to the New World, the interactions of the natives and the explorers, and the Niña, Pinta, Santa Maria—you know the drill. But from message board posting I learned that a) the Columbian Exchange is hoax, and Columbus never existed, b) The Native Americans discovered Europe, but the snobby Europeans destroyed all the evidence, c) The Native Americans traded walri and seals to the Europeans in exchange for livestock, and d) The first immigrants to the Americas climbed the Arctic ice with “ice packs” to get across the Pacific.
Conclusion: College classes are like high school classes with an added risk of adventure. It’s like comparing swimming in a baby pool with deep-sea diving. Yeah, high school is safe, predictable, and easy enough… But college classes are liable to include weird people, zombies, robots, loud arguments, and possible lobster infestation issues. Live big, you know?