The Downright Truth About College

College is hard, its like a non stop roller coaster --- there are the ups and downs, even times when you feel a bit sick to your stomach. College students are some of the hardest working people I know, especially Millennials and we never get the credit we deserve because people think that we just sit around lazily just barely doing our work. And for all of you that are thinking about going to college in the fall best of luck to you. I know you have heard a lot about college and I just wanted you to know that the truth about college is...

The Truth about...Balancing Time

College is hard! It’s hard because although you spend 12 years waking up to get to school by 8:00 am for some reason you struggle to get to your first class that starts at 11:15! 11:15 am, my mom laughs at me when I tell her that I have to have my alarms going off at 9 am with 15 minute intervals, Why? Because getting up before noon is quite hard.  I don't believe that there are enough hours in the day for college students. If you're like me you are too busy balancing clubs, friends, homework, classes, family, and work and if you're lucky you just might get five minutes for some "me time." I can't even figure a time to get to the gym much (although part of the reason is laziness on my part). I think as college students we try as hard as we can to balance it all much like the Cat in the Hat, and yet we seem to always forget in the end the things we are trying to balance will fall.

I think that's why we are sometimes up until 2 am or 3 am talking with friends because the truth is during the day we don't have that time. My best friend spends every night in a video chat with her sister or friends back home around 1 am, and I realized the truth is they are all in college and have no other time to just sit and catch up. I try to make it a point to call my mom or my sister every day and sometimes they would complain that I should call them when I am outside rather than on the way to class or home, but the truth is that's really the only time I have to talk to them because otherwise if I am home I feel like my time is better spent doing homework or conducting my internship search. I haven't been blogging because I feel like it’s a waste of my limited time, even as I am writing now I am thinking of all the other school related things I should be doing. 

The Truth about...Party People

I am not much of a party-person seeing as though I am an introvert, but I fully understand why people go out to parties every weekend, because the truth is they need a to blow off some steam, they go through the week with high stress levels and finally they have something to look forward to every week to make the upcoming week all worth it. Now with that being said I have to say I am not much of a fan of IU being known as a party school, I think that stereotype of all the kids going to parties really comes into the class room negatively. I think, actually no, I KNOW that sometimes professors believe that the reason we slack off is because we're out drinking and going to partying. When really the reason why we sometimes miss that night class is because we probably got scheduled to work that night, and the reason why we missed that Friday morning class (besides the fact that it’s a morning class on a Friday) is not because we were out partying the night before but rather that we have been so busy and forgot that we had an assignment due that morning and stayed up all night studying. I just think the partying stereotypes are dumb! Some of the hardest working Kelley students I know are also hardcore party people. 

The Truth about...Professors 

Last week, a professor of mine asked the lecture hall what would make a great professor and the class responded with some thought that I didn't even think about. The theme was pretty much someone who is understanding. I think IU has some of the greatest professors, associate instructors, teaching assistants, etc. But what makes them great is their patience and understanding.  In college you will get that professor who for some odd reason believes that his/her class is the most important class within your schedule, and they just assume the worst of you. I think the professors I have most trouble with are the ones who really have the best interest at heart but end up making things a bit more complicated. For example GROUP WORK! In college there is a lot of group work to prepare for the future, where you will have to work in groups a lot (so I’ve been told repeatedly), and I get that all of these profs are trying to help us prepare for life after college but what happens when all of your profs are doing it…well that leaves you with 5 classes and 5 different groups.

Remember when I was talking about balancing time, well try balancing all your time, your school, work, clubs, even meal time with group work. It is physically impossible to try and find a time and meet with all of your groups throughout the week. And YES there is technology to help work together but once you and your group don’t meet up the paper tends to turn out with completely one person’s voice (because they decided to do the work) or 4 different people because everyone decided to split it up and add the pages together and in those cases you didn't learn anything from the project because you probably only did one part if a part at all. And I guess they try to avoid the group evaluations to understand everyone's contribution when the truth is the only thing that group really agreed on was giving everyone a 10 out of 10 except that one guy for never showing up to class.

Out off all that there is only one type of prof that I absolutely hate, and that’s the one that spends the whole class time lecturing word for word from the reading. Here are a few problems that they will cause:

  1. lecturing the book word for word is really going to lower the already low percentage of students in your class of opening the book,
  2. more than half the class is probably on Buzzfeed, Facebook, checking their email, or better yet doing homework for another class which will then cause less people to show up because the student then figures if they’re going to do homework they might as well do it at home or in Wells Library,
  3. the odds a prof lecturing word for word from the book are high that they really haven’t planned the class out well and are probably a poor lecturer which sucks because truth is you probably were better off with that extra hour of sleep.

The Truth about…Paying for School

I am an out-of-state student who pays nearly $44,000 a year! I work two jobs and I am currently looking for a third. Paying for school gets really rough, so I am going to keep this short and simple before you go to a school please check finances and see if over the next four years if you will be willing to pay it. I cannot stress that enough! If you get a scholarship for freshman year you better figure out what you are going to do sophomore year because you do not want to fall in love with a school that you can’t afford!

The Truth about…My Experience

Before I start with my story I should add that writing this makes me a bit nervous because it’s my story, it’s personal. But I wanted to share it because I want someone to learn from it or just understand that the are not alone. I grew up in a suburb outside of Chicago called Evanston. I was born and raised there. I am very fortunate to say I have the same best friend since kindergarten and that my family is very close (probably too close at times). I came to IU because…well because of the name! I thought it would look good on my resume and I had people pushing me to go here.

I am the very first person in my mom’s family to go to school out-of-state. Actually, I am the first to go to a four year college because my mom was born and raised in Haiti and most of her siblings and their families are still there. I really didn’t know what to expect and didn’t have much guidance once I got here. My freshman year I took 8 classes. I did HORRIBLY because I couldn't handle it. I had trouble being away from family and friends. I made friends with a lot of sweet girls, but the truth is as a black woman I wanted black friends.

I needed someone else to understand how it felt to be the only black person in a lecture hall. I wanted to be close to my two best friends who were black and Mexican and know what it meant to be the minorities.  I lived in a very diverse town where the only time I ever really felt like a minority was when I took AP classes and even then the ratio was better than it is at IU. So coming to IU was a real eye opening experience. My best friend on campus now makes fun of the story of how we met which is that I desperately wanted to be friends with the only other black girl on my floor. I also dealt with depression freshman year. For about three weeks straight I called my mom crying, I didn't go to class, I barely ate or even left my room. My mom wanted to visit me but she couldn't because she couldn't afford it to be quite honest. We were struggling! Ha! We are still struggling!

Looking at my grades after first semester I had a wake up call, I went into my second semester trying to build up from the ashes I guess and ended with what I think was my best semester yet. Sophomore year started with a bit of a struggle. First off, I went in thinking I was going to transfer soon but couldn't find a school that really transferred over my courses for my major since Tourism, Hospitality, and Event Mgmt seems to be in either the College of Arts and Sciences or Business Schools within the state of Illinois (it’s in the School of Public Health here). I decided not to transfer but I had one big problem on my hand, I was taking 12 credit hours and had wayyy to much time on my hands.

Do you know what happens when a college student has too much free time, well in my case it was spent mostly on Hulu or Netflix rather than studying. Sophomore year I was very fortunate to not have to worry too much about finances because I had an amazing scholarship, but I still found things to worry about. By my fourth semester of college I was working two jobs, studying, going to classes, stressing over the fact that freshman year ruined me and I needed to try harder to get a 3.0 so I could apply for more scholarships. I was going through a lot which also ended up in depression and being hospitalized. It took that moment for me to realize that I needed to take care of myself and I tried and did pretty well for the rest of the semester but last semester was sadly for me a replay of my first semester, I spent some time being depressed and missed like 4 critical weeks of school. 

All that I have been through taught me one thing that I have to take care of myself, whether that's going to counseling at the health center (you all get two free sessions) to just talk about myself for 45 minutes, or going to the SRSC for a good workout, or even going to a prof to get clarification on something, or even if that means I have to study on a Friday night, I do it because you have to work hard to get what you want, no one if going to just give it to you. 

My grades and finances are still stressing me out but I started this semester on a better note. I have made a lot of progress with myself. I know that I have struggled…I am struggling.  I have dealt with really bad depression, I have dealt with taking 8 classes freshman year, at this very moment I can barely afford to be here let alone pay for my phone bill. I have forgotten assignments, I've slept through class, I've purposefully skipped class, I've pulled all-nighters, I've done all the work for my groups, I've done barely any of the work for my groups, I've ran out of meal points, I've dealt with learned helplessness, I've turned in assignment without proofreading, I've submitted this blog post without proofreading, including this one if you haven't already noticed. I've accidentally bleached clothing, I've accidentally burned a cake, I've overdrawn in my bank account, I've used my emergency credit card for shoes, I have partied, I have laughed, I've cried, I've gotten lost, I've been out of breath by the time I got to the third floor in Ballantine, I have been through hell and back here at IU but I am still here fighting the good fight because when I graduate that diploma is going to mean so much more.  

The Truth about…Surviving College

Well I haven’t survived college (yet) but I have made it pretty far and I am on track to graduate in 2016. College is sort of a crucible where if you make it to the end you learn so much about who you are because of all the times you have been tested. Although I may complain about going to some $44,000 out-of state school all the time, the truth is I wouldn't change a thing about my experience here at IU. Because in the end I know who Sara-Claire Gaspard is, I know I am a great leader, I love working in groups, and I am very creative. I learned to speak up in front of people, reach out for help, organize myself and plan for the future and I know that when that plan fails it’s okay because I can always make a better plan. So if you are looking at IU or some other school I want you to know that college is hard, there are going to be the type of people that I described in this article but there are going to be people I haven’t mentioned. Know that just because Jake can party every weekend and make it to class all the time and managed to be a B average student doesn't mean that you can. You really have to use these 4(+) years to discover who you are and who do you want to be and trust me its better to be you than someone else. So if I leave you with any true advice I would say understand that college will be hell, you will encounter all types of people and everyday something will be thrown your way that you may not be able to handle but it’s okay because the truth about college is (from what I hear)...

all worth it in the end.

-SC

About The Author
Sara Claire GaspardClass of 2016, Evanston, IL