Wednesday, October 22, 2008

College

Ok so my name is Jon and i am currently a junior at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. i am studying Biology with hopes of becoming a dentist. 

Now i understand that college is supposed to be hard and you as an individual are supposed to start leaving your childhood behind to start some sort of a makeshift career. And i don't know about the rest of the world, but for the past 20 years i have been in my childhood and teenage years, and i found that it was in a very comfortable little niche. I have almost no regrets about my childhood, i am proud and appreciative of the way my parents raised me, even though it was sometimes frustrating for example, things like having a curfew and not always being able to be out with my friends didn't always satisfy my social needs, but in the end i believe i am a better person from it and i do plan on someday raising my own kids in a similar fashion to my own upbringing. 

Anyways, don't get me wrong, i love college, i love being in Boston, i've made some great and some not so great friends and people that i'm sure i'll be in contact with throughout the rest of my life. Partying is not necessarily my forte but i do get out and go to parties and meet different people and obviously drink heavily. The thing i enjoy most about Boston is the fact that although miniscule compared to New York, it is still bigger then the relatively flat Yorktown Heights, and by flat i mean boring and nothing to do but loiter at the shitty mall or go to a movie at the insanely over priced movie theater. So just the fact that i don't have to drive to go anywhere because there is civilization outside my doorstep, and i can walk around and see the sights really helped me make my decision to come here for school.

Back to the initial goal of this opinion. COLLEGE. Such a bitter sweet almost fantasy. You are on your own, away from the family for most of us the first time. Exploring your sexuality and new found ability to drink massive amounts of alcohol. Experimenting with drugs, not my thing, but we all do it to see what all the fuss is about. My younger brother described my freshmen dorm as a hotel room with no furniture, and i agreed it was like staying at a hotel. A strange new place with a stranger in it (your room mate(s)). This new found freedom lasts anywhere from 3-5 days that the school gives you to settle in, and then classes start. Now for some people classes are their thing, they where straight A students in high school and thoroughly enjoy learning, and for others going to college is more of a social acceptance experience, meaning that they go because thats what everyone does, even if they are not learning what they wanted to learn about or if they would rather be contributing the cesspit that is our economy by working, or maybe they want to join the military? who knows, but if i where to describe myself, i'd say i was in the middle somewhere which leads me to my point. 
If you put a lot into something, you would not be happy if on the way out you got very little in return. What i mean is the tuition at Northeastern is currently between $45-$47 thousand dollars and on the rise. So in theory, you would expect all aspects of this fine institution to be insanely catering to my every need and want. But here it is quite the contrary. Back to what i said before, i completely understand that i am now becoming an adult and i need to sort of fend for my self more then i am used to, but with out all the drama and blood i feel like a baby tossed into a pit of alligators. 

In my experience, i go to class of course and find the 4 out of my 6 professors do not practice english as their primary language, which i guess i can deal with but after all we are in America where we speak English. Now in these classes i also find that there is a general knowledge expected of everyone which not everyone will have depending on their educational background. For example, the shit hole of a high school that is Yorktown High School did not prepare me in the least for what was to come. Therefore on day one i am behind, which means i already need help getting this general knowledge, which means tutors, and i will say that that is one thing Northeastern has a good amount of. I am now behind and having trouble understanding what the teachers are saying and i find myself thinking... is this really worth 45k??, am i getting what i paid for?

Now don't get me wrong in terms of facilities, amenities, and things to do on campus NU is no doubt in the top percent of functioning modern campuses. The gym is amazing, the cafeteria is not half bad, and the student center is just a melting pot of everything and anyone here. But i must say the Academic and Advisory Staff is severely lacking. 

For example just before this semester, i was not registered for an elective class which i needed in order to have a full schedule with enough credits to be considered a full time student. It was getting pretty close to the start of the semester and i'll admit it was my fault for not having registered, but at the time that i was registering for all of my other classes i just could not decide which elective i wanted to take so i said eh i'll think about it over the summer... well summer came and went and i didnt yet have an elective. So when i went online to register i noticed that all the electives i would even consider taking where full. Logically i emailed my academic advisor, whom i now despise for his incompetence and inability to ADVISE anyone, and i told him about my dilemma, which i knew he could fix with a few mouse clicks, and he proceeded to email me back saying he couldn't help me and that he wasn't sure how to do what i asked of him because it crossed department lines or some bullshit like that. As you can imagine i because extremely frustrated and had to take matters into my own hands. And although i missed two classes i eventually got into my elective by getting a add slip and getting it signed by like four different people and then finally i was registered in the class. At this moment almost as if it was day one all over again i found myself thinking... is this really worth 45k??, am i getting what i paid for?

Maybe it's just me and its just NU but i sometimes feel like i'm climbing Mt. Everest without a Sherpa, and i'm slowly but surely running out of oxygen. But if it isn't just me and it is like this at other schools for whoever may or may not read this just know that next time you are in class and you feel like you are struggling with the material or are having a hard time understanding what is going on and why no one is available to help you, you aren't alone, and you just need to do whatever you can and scrounge what ever help you can get to get by and make something of yourself.
By: Jonathan C.

1 comment:

Harris said...

wow that last powerful is a little slit your wrists emo, but good thoughts either way. My school is quite different. My adviser is the person I am closest with (academically) at school and I am always able to wiggle out of situations like you said. Also you mentioned that people go to college simply because that is what they are expected to do, I totally agree. If college isn't for you, you shouldn't be here. Social conformity has made this something we can't choose on our own, and are usually forced into.

Good thoughts, look forward to reading more.