On Wednesday, January 4 the PTSA hosted an informational college panel in the LRHS Media Center at 7 p.m. Roughly fifty people attended the panel, a group which consisted of Leesville seniors and their parents as well as a few underclassmen. Attendees were also given a door prize of free Chik-fil-a chicken sandwich coupons.
The panel consisted of recent Leesville alumni who shared their experience of college life after one or two years away from high school. Brendan Schachle, class of 2011 and freshman at East Carolina University spoke first about freshman orientation and college advisors.
Shachle found his ECU orientation experience a positive one. By attending an orientation earlier in the summer, Shachle had first choice in courses of his incoming class. The orientation also helped him to meet new people, learn the layout of the campus and discuss his plans with his advisor.
Brenna Langley, also a graduate of the class of 2011 and a freshman at Appalachian State University, shared her experiences with ASU dorm life. A main topic of discussion was roommate selection. Langley chose to room with someone that she knew from high school, though other panelists discussed the alternatives of rooming with a stranger. All unanimously agreed that it is not wise to room with a “best friend” in college, as it is likely many arguments will damage the friendship.
When the conversation steered towards valuables and other personal belongings, Langley explained two criteria to consider when deciding what to bring into the dorm: 1) is this something that I need to survive? and 2) will I be devastated if this is stolen? A majority of panelists agreed that only necessities should be brought to the dorm, but overall students should exercise caution with all personal affects.
Davis Griffin, sophomore at UNC-Greensboro and 2010 graduate, shared his specific experiences of being a college athlete and balancing academic workload, sports and social life. The average freshman student takes 15 credit hours per semester, or roughly five classes. For a student athlete, most time not in the classroom is spent between school assignments and sports practice. Griffin stressed the importance of creating a time schedule for each day of the week and not to waste any free time.
Despite a hectic schedule, Griffin found that his grades and academic life improved during his soccer season. He believes that the constant need for focus and a tight schedule kept his goals in sight. David Lowery, representative for Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and 2011 graduate disagreed, as he, too is a college athlete having to balance academics and sports. He found that his stress levels were increased during his football season and that focusing on his schoolwork became difficult due to fatigue.
What each panelist took away from this double-edged sword of academics and extracurriculars is that college freshman must not spread themselves too thin. The college experience and the excitement of living away from home can overwhelm students and distract from the main purpose of college: education.
Cory Scheviak, of the 2011 class and freshman at NC State University, went through his own personal list of “items that you don’t realize you need in your dorm until the year has already started,” in Scheviak’s words. On his list: a stapler, paper towels (which can often be used in the place of plates), a desk lamp and comfortable desk chair, shower shoes, power strips for maximum outlet use, a printer, and a refrigerator or microwave if the school does not provide them to students.
Scheviak also discussed the non-tuition costs of college that comes from social spending and academic materials. WebAssign, a tool used by many colleges and universities, is a single location used for course assignments to be submitted via the Internet. Scheviak and the other panelists agreed that WebAssign is a commonly used source for professors of many subjects at many schools.
Lowery and Morgan Burke, a UNC-Chapel Hill freshman closed the session with their own experiences and perceptions of life spent outside of the classroom. Burke summarized the way she spends her time as: studying, sleeping, some laundry, socializing and finding ways to get involved in her interests. Burke stressed the importance and heightened value of napping when the opportunity presents itself.
Through his own unhappy experiences, Lowery explained the critical aspect of budget management. The Morehouse freshman admitted to spending most of his “fun” money in the first two weeks of school and wishes that he had created a better system of spending before his money was spent.
Each panelist has thus far enjoyed their own unique college or university experience, and urge future college students to keep a level head, stay open minded and to have a good time as they enter a new phase of their lives.