Do not be afraid of transition to college!


Cameron Krasucki

The Illini Union and Main Quad lie empty on June 26. Embracing everything that college has to offer will prepare you for a better college transition.

By Royal Shrestha, Staff Writer

Fall is just around the corner and with the past year and a half being virtual learning, it can be tough for many high school students to adjust to a college lifestyle. Luckily for me, I was able to live my first year as a freshman in the dorms before the pandemic began and it was a huge wake up call for me. College life was vastly different from high school life and the only bit of advice I was given was to take fewer credits in the first year to adjust, budget time and figure out what major I wanted to stick with for four years. 

Many students come into college with high school friends, knowing what major they want to stick with for all four years and have been prepared already for what college can be like. For me, it was the complete opposite as I had to make friends from scratch and didn’t really like my secondary major I was chosen for. Long story short, I changed my major three times before liking the one I’m currently pursuing. That comes to my first point:

Major and Classes

In high school, students generally take classes that cover all various subjects and the University offers something similar, which is the undeclared major. This choice allows you to explore subjects of interest while still staying on track for graduation. There’s no shame in trying to explore a bit more before spending the rest of your life on your field of study. This is a flexible path that many students across the campus take and is helpful for those who may also be deciding between two or more majors. 

Even if you do decide you’re no longer happy with your chosen major, whether it be the first or second choice on your application, there are always two time periods in the academic year to change it to your desired choice. As a reminder, the University has various colleges that each have its own academic advisers to guide you through the process. I personally talked with mine across the four different majors I transitioned in between. 

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As a last helpful reminder, unlike high school courses, you can drop courses that may be too hard or uninteresting in the first few weeks of each semester. Also, the University offers eight-week courses as well, which can be taken in the first or second half of the semester depending on how you want to allocate your time. 

Budgeting Time

Like many of you, I had to get up as early as 6 a.m. each morning to catch the bus for my 8 a.m. start time in high school. Having stacked all my classes in the morning, I realized that I couldn’t keep the same time schedule as in high school. With much more freedom, being an early bird slowly drifted away. This is completely fine in college as there are various sections for the same class and you can adjust your schedule depending on whether you have morning or afternoon classes. 

I would like to shed some light on how college courses, despite only meeting three times a week, are much more time consuming than high school courses. With midterms and finals along with office hours and discussion sections, it is advised to stick between 15 and 18 credit hours, as many more wouldn’t leave enough time for other extracurricular activities and hobbies. For those that are ready for the academic challenge or are double majoring, after freshman year, students can exceed the 18 credit hour limit. Personally, I stuck with 16 credit hours in freshman year and as I better understood how to budget my time, I am averaging 22 credit hours at the moment. 

Final Word of Advice

Having come back from the pandemic, while college life still won’t be the complete same as there are still COVID-19 restrictions and some virtual learning, college life will give you much more freedom and will be a time to explore your various interests. Even if you’re behind compared to your friends, taking the extra time given the University’s flexibility to explore your interests is definitely worth it. 

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