Chapter One: Freshman Year

Sage Cooley, Co-Opinions Editor

Q: What did you learn in high school that you felt was beneficial for college?

A: I would say that all of my study habits from high school are changed. The way you study and work in high school is so much different than college. In high school, you do all your homework and that’s pretty good preparation for tests. In college, you need to do way more and outside of the box things.

I was in the habit of working hard and I carried that to college. Time management, however, is something you learn more in college. You do have some decisions that you make while in high school, but not nearly as many.

Q: How did you prepare yourself for your freshman year of college?

A: Academically, I did not. We do this thing called FASET at Georgia Tech, which is like orientation. I did that and started school a couple of weeks later. I bought maybe paper, pencils and highlighters. I didn’t log onto [teachers’ websites] or anything and I walk into my first class:

“So maybe you saw on the class website..”

I was like, “we have a class website?” I had no idea.

Scholastically, I did not think. It was a little stressful at first because I thought I was going to be super behind, but it ended up being fine.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have tried to reach out more for academics?

A: For sure. Even though it didn’t end up hurting me at all, I felt super nervous on the first day when I didn’t know anything. I would have liked to have been aware of all this stuff because I felt kind of stressed the first week. I had to get these textbooks, a lab coat and lab notebook. I had time to do it, but I like to be prepared and to realize that I was so unprepared was stressful.

Q: What were you expecting leading up to your freshman year?

A: I wanted it to be fun, free and liberating and it definitely was, so I was very grateful for that.

I was expecting Georgia Tech to be super hard. It was challenging, different and a new type of learning, but it’s so manageable once you learn how to learn in college. I thought I was going to have to get two hours of sleep every night, study all the time and not have that much time to do fun things. You have to learn what works and then you get really efficient in that process.

Q: What did you find most challenging about your freshman year and how did you cope?

A: I would say the classes being hard. I directly benefited from working hard in high school. I saw the results. I knew I wasn’t going to get all A’s anymore in college, but I wasn’t expecting my first round of tests to be as low as they were. Taking in that different outcome was challenging. You get used to it, though, and the tests are usually curved if scores end up that low. It’s never as bad as it seems. That was important to learn. If everybody is there with you, the cutoff for an A is not going to be a ninety. They want to make sure everybody’s being challenged, so that’s why averages can be that low, but they account for it.

Q: What was your favorite experience or aspect of your freshman year?

A: My freshman roommate. We’re still best friends. I don’t know if all schools do this, but students make posts on the Georgia Tech Facebook page and it’s like an online dating profile, but for roommates. It was getting close to the deadline and I hadn’t found somebody I thought I was going to like and my roommate hadn’t either. One of us reached out to the other one and we were immediately inseparable. I’m going to go see her in New York this summer. She made the whole process of getting accustomed to college so much better.