Thursday, September 2, 2010

College Checklist

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Note: This was originally a Facebook note not on this blog. I uploaded it to the blog in 2012 and backdated it to today.
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After my miserable experience as a college student, I have compiled a list of conditions that play a part in determining whether or not a person would enjoy the college experience. (By college experience, I mean attending a four-year college and living on campus).I hope that this will serve as checklist for students who are questioning whether or not they should go to college, as well as students who always assumed they would go to college and may be in for a surprise.

A further explanation of these conditions is provided at the end of the list.
1. Academic

  • You love your classes at school or are really interested in certain subjects (only include subjects that you would consider studying in college) 
  • You enjoy at least some of your studying and feel like it’s not just something you have to do.
  • You would willingly take on an academic project that is not required.
  • You enjoy having intellectual conversations with friends, or wish that you could.
  • You want to enjoy the process of learning – order pizza, get some friends together, and talk about something interesting that you’re studying in class.  You prefer this method over rushing through the work to have a just-for-fun night with friends.
  • Sometimes you look forward to school as the summer ends (this can be counted under any of the three categories depending on your reasons)
2. Personality
  •  You are extroverted; you want to spend the majority of your time with other people and have no desire to be alone. 
  • You love meeting new people.
  • Your downtime consists of hanging out with friends.
  • You would prefer to have a roommate than to live alone, or do not have a strong preference either way.
  • You are flexible, low-maintenance, and are not bothered by many things.
  • You are open to changing aspects of your lifestyle and routine; you don’t have strong preferences or requirements. 
  • You are usually cheerful and rarely looking for someone to tell your troubles to. 
  • You like doing things to music, or you don't mind having music or noise in the background.
  • You love to be busy or be involved in a lot of things.
  • You enjoy having leadership positions or being in charge of projects.
  • You would go to almost every campus event if you had enough time.
  • You want to spend most of your free time doing activities, attending campus events, or socializing/partying with friends.
3. Home Life
  • You are unsatisfied with your life, or certain aspects of it, and are searching for something more.
  • You enjoy being away from home or you want to get away from home.
  • You did not like high school or felt out of place there.
  • You do not like your hometown or feel out of place there.
  • You are unsatisfied with your relationships with family or friends.  You don’t have many people you can really talk to at home.
  • You feel lost or confused about who you are and want a chance to find yourself. 
  • You just feel like you need to get out and experience something new.  You would not be content to stay where you are.
Explanation of results:

It is preferable to have some conditions of all three categories, especially the first two. However, for some people, the strength of just a few conditions will grant them a great college experience.

In terms of enjoying college, the personality conditions are probably the most important.  I say this because a person who loves their classes may still have miserable time if they don't have the college personality described in the second category. A person who lacks the academic reasons but has the college personality can still have a fun time as long as they can maintain the minimum GPA. 

Academic reasons are the second most important category, but how important they are depends a lot on the intellectual culture of the school. You will have to deal with the schoolwork itself no matter where you go, but it's not as bad if you can find a college that doesn't have an intellectual climate.

Home life is a little more complicated; having a really horrible home life will not necessarily make the college experience better. But the point is that even if your home life is basically good, you need to be searching for something that you don't already have, because if your life is perfect exactly the way it is, then it's hard for anything at college to compete with what you already have.

I have none of the above.  How many do you have?

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