College courses are definitely different from high school classes. Depending on the person, they can be ten times more challenging or they can be manageable. Regardless, they are more demanding. By this I mean that it takes a lot of effort to make things work.
In high school, I was a student who earned mostly A’s and a few B’s despite my procrastination and average study skills. I would have stressful days trying to get my homework finished for all my classes in the short window I had following after-school practices and before becoming too sleepy to function. The cycle was repetitive almost every day, but I made it through each time and managed to do well.
In college, I realized there were many things different about school: you don’t have the same classes and schedule every single day, some professors don’t assign homework, some professors do, and participation in extracurriculars is more independent. Finding a balance for days that are no longer an identical replication of the previous was a challenge. I was not the best at this. My old habits were not enough, and I paid the price. I struggled. I almost failed classes. I panicked.
I talked to my mom often, and with her mother’s instinct, she could tell when things were off. I didn’t want to confess to her that I was struggling out of fear of disappointing her and the rest of my family. But, she knew whatever was going on I had to find someone who I was comfortable to reach out to. At first, I thought to write my RA a little note and slip it under her door because I was too nervous to speak about it in person, and she had always encouraged us to reach out to her in whatever way we felt comfortable. Even still, I couldn’t build up the courage to start the conversation. This changed when I had to meet with my advisor as a homework assignment.
I receive a scholarship to attend SDSU, so I was automatically enrolled in a seminar class with the other recipients and an advisor specific to our program. One of our assignments was to meet with her personally so she could get to know us better. I was nervous, but in the classes we had, she was such a positive and helpful woman who seemed to really be on my side. I remember dreading the fact that the meeting was an hour long because I didn’t know what I could talk to her about for that long. But that day, in our meeting, we had the friendliest conversation and I felt so comfortable opening up to her. I tried to meet with her regularly and reach out to her with questions. She didn’t always have an exact answer, but in the case that she didn’t, she had advice and suggestions. After expressing my concern about my academics, there was nothing she could do to fix my grades, but she knew about certain classes and pushed me to reach out to find what worked best for me whether it was tutoring, student review sessions, or academic advising. In an indirect way, she helped me overcome, and I am forever grateful to have her as a guide and motivator for school and life.
Dana Zambrana is a third year at San Diego State University studying Kinesiology with a focus in Physical Therapy. She enjoys sports and is a second-year member of the Triathlon team at SDSU. She loves being active and working with people, so her future career goal is to work in recreational therapy with people who have disabilities. After taking a few classes for her GE requirements, Dana also really enjoys Psychology and is considering minoring in it. Another thing she wants to do is to get back to learning American Sign Language, which she studied when she was a student at Marshall Fundamental. Dana is excited to be a third-year but is completely shocked at how fast time has gone by!