High School vs. College

The transition from high school to college is very odd— at least it was for me.

In high school, I had to wear a uniform every day, attend the same classes over and over, make it to class on time in fear of detention, and interact with the same people for four years.

When I finally arrived at college, it was a very different scene. Students go to class in pajamas, show up late (or don’t show up at all), and people are generally a lot more laid back and chill.

Although every professor runs their class differently, many professors will give you an extension if you ask, try their best to make accommodations for one’s sports commitments, and don’t mind if students are late so long as they have a legitimate reason.

In contrast, my high school teachers would expose the students who didn’t have their homework, wouldn’t allow for more than one student to go to the bathroom at a time, and took every opportunity to be harsh.

Evidently, high school and college operate at two distinct levels of learning.

High school teachers are much more invested in your education as they demand strict adherence to assignment deadlines and classroom engagement. Conversely, if you choose not to attend lecture or give your courses the effort required, the only person affected is you; professors won’t go knocking at your dorm asking where that paper is you didn’t submit.

College requires a greater level of responsibility, like staying on top of assignments and projects and ensuring you are well-prepared for exams.

Personally, I prefer the 14-week schedule in college to the 4-quarter marking periods in high school.

Though students must meet specific deadlines and cram copious amounts of work into a shorter time frame, I don’t think the semesters drag out as long as it does with the marking period system. I always know how long each semester will be, what assignments and exams I will have per the syllabi I was given, and I always have some sort of break to sustain my energy.

I think back to when I had Christmas break in high school; having a week off was a luxury back then. Nonetheless, now having been exposed to a whole month off for winter break, I can’t believe I thought a week was ever long enough.

Another big difference between college and high school is the caliber of people you will meet and interact with in college. In high school, everyone has their little circle, people love to cause drama, and everyone is critical of each other. Once someone is coined the class clown, a jock, or a nerd, that term sticks with them for the rest of their high school career.

On the other hand, you can have a college class of 25 people and never have another class with those same individuals again. Besides people who play sports or participate in Greek life, I estimate, most college students have three to four close friends in addition to a multitude of acquaintances from shared classes.

Also, I feel like people in college are less nosy, as they are too preoccupied with their own lives and stressors. In contrast, people live and breathe gossip in high school, wanting to know who broke up with who, who talked bad about who, and why friends became enemies in less than a day.

High school is a peculiar period in most people’s lives where it’s a small world, and all you know is going to high school, going home, and hanging out with your friends. In college, your life expands as you are given more freedom to do what you want and when you want. Despite the growing number of responsibilities in college, I’d say my college experience is going much better than my high school one did.