By Ruth Rea, senior
Editor’s Note. Myths about college have a funny way of getting bigger and more outlandish every year. University of St. Thomas student Ruth Rea (MAJOR, YEAR) debunks common misconceptions about college and splashes a little reality on these common college myths.
Three Myths About College Life…and the Truths I Discovered Behind the Myths
I am a first-generation college student, and when I first started talking about college to people, they gave me advice however many of the “good advice” tends to be muddled by myths. My freshman year, I had no idea what to expect. People kept telling me so many contradicting things that I was just relieved I didn’t get lost on my way to class.
When it came to my senior year at the University of St. Thomas, I started to see the bigger picture. It was then that I could debunk all the things people told me to expect about college having gone through the full four years.
College Myths I Discovered…and Learned to Take with a Grain of Salt:
COLLEGE MYTH #1: “Your whole class grade is only based on two grades—the midterm and the final. If you do badly on one, you are on your own and you may have to retake the class.”
TRUTH: As far as college myths go, this one’s pretty far-fetched. At the end of the day, professors are people too and understand that sometimes, life happens. Mistakes occur and you may not do the best you could possibly do on an exam.
This revelation came to me when a professor stated the class would have three exams, 10 quizzes and 10 homework assignments. She then said magical words: “Don’t worry if this sounds like a lot of work guys, I do this so that I can drop your lowest grades and replace them with the highest grades. I usually decide the exact amount of things to drop based on the class average. My main goal is to make sure you comprehend and grasp the material.”
Getting a bad grade is not the end of the world in college, because professors usually have a system setup that will help you succeed. So before you begin to see when the class is offered again, talk to your professor. I can assure you that you are not the first and will not be the last to score poorly on an exam. It is okay, and you will still succeed. You just need to move on and study harder the next time.
COLLEGE MYTH #2: “Professors won’t even know your name. Your lecture will be taught by a TA. If the professor does show up, he will not answer your questions. Make sure to read the syllabus because that is all you have. Good luck. Start praying.”
TRUTH: Once again, I must remind you that professors are human too. They are not robots that stand in front of the class. They care about the success of each student and try hard to make sure you understand their class. They have business hours that they set aside specifically to talk to their students.
I discovered this my sophomore year of college. I had gotten very sick and missed a whole week of classes. Trying to recover on the couch, I decided to check my email. My professor had emailed me personally. She wondered if I was okay and if I needed help understanding the material I had missed. She even attached her business hours so I could stop by with any questions. This professor continued to help me until I caught up with the rest of the students. This is a perfect example of how professors truly care about their students.
Needless to say, I passed the class with flying colors. Professors do care. They do know your name. All you need to do is build a relationship with them.
COLLEGE MYTH #3: “You have to choose your major right away and stick with it.”
TRUTH: As if. I wish a photographer could have captured my face when I learned that you do not have to declare your major until your second year of college. You do not even have to have an idea your first year of college. Some students declare themselves as “Undecided” their freshman year of college and take core classes to see which topic best interests them.
Once you have declared your major, it is not written in stone. I have met people who have changed their major four times. Your education is yours. Make sure the major you choose suits you and is what you want to do the rest of your life. What you choose will dictate the rest of your life. However, don’t be pressured to make a quick decision. Take your time, and always ask for help. Colleges have great resources to help you find your way.
Looking to Enroll Into College?
The thought of college can be overwhelming with all of the myths you hear. Don’t let those false statements scare you! The University of St. Thomas has a team of staff that would be happy to answer any of your questions.