Stacked Return Books

A stack of returned books in the Student Bookstore on College Avenue on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020

As the fall semester creeps into view, the looming start of classes reminds students of the many assignments and tests approaching in the near future. Many students said freshman year was an adjustment period — but what exactly is the difference between high school and college workloads?

John Hearn described his high school workload as fairly heavy throughout the four years.

Having attended Council Rock High School South in Bucks County, Hearn (junior-security risk analysis) said his high school was “well-known for preparing kids for college.”

Hearn said because of this, he didn’t need a big adjustment when starting college — he said he was pretty prepared for his first year.

“You need to be a lot more independent and on top of yourself in college,” Hearn said. “In high school, there are people on top of you — like your teachers and parents.”

Tom Lichtel said he took a lot of Advanced Placement classes and was involved in many extracurriculars in high school.

“It was a lot — I’m not going to lie. I never had a dull moment,” Lichtel (senior-philosophy and political science) said.

He said he believes college is similar to high school because in addition to his classes, he is involved with clubs and events like THON.

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Reflecting on his college career as a senior, Lichtel said he regrets not getting as involved in his first semester of college.

“I worked so hard on classes, and I stressed so much,” he said. “I was mentally prepared for a lot, so I assumed that what I had in front of me was a lot — but it really wasn’t that bad.”

As for Lichtel’s study habits, he admitted he finds it hard not to procrastinate. But, he said he remembers reading a study that showed procrastination is not necessarily a bad thing.

“Some studies say that you might as well procrastinate because you’re never more efficient than you are when you’re pressed up against a deadline,” he said.

Madison Hungerford gave contrasting advice — she said she thinks students should finish their assignments early.

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“[If] I’m going to need four hours to do [an assignment], I would do it five hours before it’s due,” she (junior-aerospace engineering) said. “Procrastination is the worst thing you could do in college.”

Hungerford said she feels much better when she has her work done ahead of time. And, this leaves time for studying, she said.

“Set boundaries for how long you’re going to do homework, when you’re going to eat and when you’re going to take care of yourself so you’re not running out of time and stressing yourself out,” she said.

For Hungerford, she said there is a stark difference between her experiences with high school and college workloads.

“College is so much more work,” she said, “and the concepts are so much more difficult.”

Jisolu Awe, who is working toward a job either in financial analytics or baseball analytics, said there is more work in college than in high school.

“[The workload] is more now, [but]... it has purpose,” Awe (junior-applied data science) said.

She advises incoming freshmen to utilize the resources around campus — especially office hours.

“Especially being a STEM major, I feel like a lot of people will complain about the workload,” Awe said. “But something that has really helped me is having that communication with my teachers and other classmates.”

Caitlyn Garrity said one of the differences between high school and college is the necessity of self-discipline. She (junior-digital and print journalism and French) echoed Awe’s advice and said office hours are important — especially if students are struggling in a class.

“I’ve learned how to balance my time so I don’t procrastinate because in college,” Garrity said. “You cannot do that and still succeed.”

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