The Transition: What is College Really Like?

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story


A fresh start, a place to reinvent yourself, freedom from parents, and the best time of your life: college. Are these glorious notions of university true?

Looking forward to her fast approaching college experience, senior Courtney Robinson spent late nights sending emails and many hours playing lacrosse to get accepted and be an athlete at her dream school, San Diego State University. This past weekend Robinson got her first real taste of college during her first official visit to San Diego State.

“I had a great time on my visit but I am expecting it to be stressful balancing athletics and school,” Robinson said.

Expectations quickly turn to reality, for some former warriors who currently find themselves in the heat of the transition.

Devin Scarborough and friends at Music Festival at Loyola Marymount. (PHOTO BY SCARBOROUGH)

Freshman at Lehigh University, Gunnar Nixon opens up about expectations and his personal experience so far.

No matter how prepared or ready you think you are for college nobody can really know what to expect. There are many aspects of it that I did expect but you can’t foresee your whole life transforming until it does,” says Nixon.

Ben Phelan and brother Jimmy at Notre Dame football game. (PHOTO BY PHELAN)

Drew Fiorenza, now a freshman at the University of South Carolina says, “In college, you’re on your own; you have to stay focused and keep up with your work because your professor isn’t going to wait around for you. No one is going to tell you to keep a homework agenda, study for an exam, and start writing a paper.”

High school friends, Ben Phelan, a freshman at Notre Dame and Fiorenza both emphasize the importance of time management in college.

Phelan gives credit to Mariemont for providing him a great education but “My high school workload was a cakewalk compared to my course load now,” he says.

They both say there is something to do every night and no one is there is to tell you no.

Fiorenza explains, “College is all about time management, which meant absolutely nothing to me in high school, but I’m starting to realize the importance of it.”

Two Mariemont grads and other Cincinnati students having fun at University of South Carolina. (PHOTO BY MCNEIL)

Some graduates find themselves miles away from home. Devin Scarborough, Freshman at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles says, “I am now so glad I came here, and I have been having such an amazing experience. Of course, I miss home and my family and friends, but life is so great here in California it really takes my mind off of it.”

Another out-of-state student, Nixon says, “If you find yourself wishing to travel out of state to college you’re likely to experience a bit of a culture shock.” 

Positive things were said about college social atmosphere by both Nixon and Scarborough.

Scarborough says, “The social atmosphere is great. Everyone is super friendly and you really get to know your professors one on one, and there is so much to do on the weekend. You never get bored here in Los Angeles!”

Nixon says, “Lehigh is different. It’s not a huge Big 10 school so I see people I know every day but I also see and meet new people too. It’s 7000 kids so you never feel alone at any social function because most likely you will be able to find someone you know.”

Another thing Nixon has noticed is “A lot of the judgment you find at social gatherings in high school is not really existent in college.”

For some of us, it is our closing years of high school and we are looking forward to our next steps in life. If it happens to be college, Drew Fiorenza suggests, “Enjoy your senior year, because after that your life is going to change forever. Don’t waste your time because you’re creating some lifelong memories with people you probably won’t be as close to in a matter of a month. Appreciate the people around you.”