• Marques Taus

A Peek Inside the Differences Between High School and College Culture

By Marques Taus // Nov. 20, 2019

In the midst of a claustrophobic hallway, I see familiarity. I see familiarity in the strict routines each and every student follows throughout their years of grade school. Familiarity with the voices and the fashion trends; I am familiar with all of the loud yelling, bells ringing and kids running. I’ve familiarized myself with many things that high school has to offer.

The Library, painting by Jacob Lawrence

While standing in the hallway of my local city college, I see no patterns or routines. I see new faces and personalities. I see many different cultures and friend groups in food courts and shaded areas. The amount of activity happening on campus is quite the sensory overload. From bizarre professors to avid public speakers in social areas, there is never a dry moment on a college campus.

I once hated the mere idea of college. Having to think about grades and applying to schools was a nauseating topic for me. It wasn’t until recently where my perspective shifted. High school made it seem like I already had more than enough on my plate. But silencing my doubts, college has proven to be a very helpful asset for me in regards to improving my academic skills.

Having been a dual-enrolled student for more than six months now, I have endured many of colleges challenges. I remember having three essays due in one week, each paper having requirements I had never seen before and yet, I managed to complete all three with good scores. There are many things that college professors require from their students. There have been many times where I am let out late from my high school and I have to sprint to my car in order to not be late, or the times where I stay up until one in the morning to finish a speech outline or an essay due the next day because my professors have no exceptions for late work. And because I am a dual-enrolled student, there have been so many nights where I am trying to complete dozens of pages worth of homework for my high school classes, then trying to complete as much as my college work as I can.

Human Ladder, photo by Morris Huberland

This doesn’t yet fully detail the extent of the obstacles many dual-enrolled students like myself face. Many of us face pressure stemmed from our parents and family to succeed. Especially since I am a first-generation college student, meeting the expectations that my family and supporters have provided is overwhelming at points. It sometimes feels like a movie scene where my loved ones are pushing me to the top, and eventually up and over, to the other side of a wall — success in life. Considering all of the sacrifices my family has made in order for me to succeed gives me a great sense of gratification.

Despite these many obstacles, being a dual-enrolled student has been a sensational time for me. Had I not enrolled in those classes, I most definitely would not be the same person I am today. There are still so many things that I need to learn about college culture and to experience just how different college is from high school.

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