The college experience has changed over the years. Our expectations of a campus-based college education may or may not still hold true.
If you come from a long line of college grads you may have heard stories that may give you a less than accurate idea of current on-campus life.
Those students who are the first in their family to attend college will have fewer expectations to fulfill. Still, everyone has preconceived ideas and the college experience has changed.
First College Experience
My first college exposure was in elementary school. As part of a gifted children’s program, I was selected to take a college course on campus. It was an exciting experience in all respects, both in class and on campus.
I was too young to participate in the social life, of course. But I did observe enough in the college grill to see social interactions and to hear conversations about more than class material.
Nevertheless, it was an amazing experience and I could hardly wait to be old enough to attend full time. When I was finally old enough to actually attend college and to partake in the social scene, I had certain expectations.
Many of these were based on movies and stories told by friends at church. Some of my classmates had older siblings who shared their experiences with us when they came home on the weekends.
My First “Real” College Experience
I was a very shy teenager in high school and the comments in my yearbook prove it. I was not yet 18 when I started college so my parents were not thrilled that I chose to go to a University over one hundred miles away.
Right before leaving home, I realized that all my classmates would be strangers and had no preconceived ideas about me. It was then that I decided to present myself as more confident and not so shy.
In my mind, this was like an actress playing a role. After all, I was majoring in Speech, Communication, and Theatre! This should not be too hard to do.
I thought it would be easier for me to be successful in any future career if I could use this time to overcome my timidity. The long-term benefits of this superficial change were second only to my actual college degree.
Campus Education Offers More Than Just A Degree
I doubt I could have made this happen if I had not been on campus. I also met my husband hanging from a tree on campus. He was hanging a sign asking people to vote for him.
That would not have happened online! Nor would all the conversations that took place in a social science class we shared. I also met several wonderful friends with whom I am still connected, decades later.
Living away from home in a semi-protected setting offered many young people time to mature while earning their degree. Since that time, however, campus regulations and social mores have changed drastically.
Fewer students make it to college with as little life experience as they once did. The need for a semi-protective environment is not as strong as it once was. However, the human connection will always be of value.
Even Before The College Experience Had Changed, My Needs Had Changed
Several years after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree, I returned to campus to work on a Master’s degree. This time I was married and had two small children.
It would have been much easier to continue my education if there had been an online option available. But, there was none at that time.
A few years later, I returned to take pre-med classes that were not part of my prior college courses. This time, I was pregnant with our fifth child. Again, this would have been so much easier to accomplish online.
Still, it was not yet an option. I had to take courses from three different colleges, working around employment, babysitters, and course availability.
This schedule prevented me from completing the med school prerequisites as soon as it should have been done. Dragging out the length of time to complete the courses could easily have prevented me from being accepted.
Thankfully, my determination (or stubbornness, depending on who you ask) paid off. The first day of medical school coincided with our youngest of five children’s first day of school.
She shook my hand and wished me well in med school. I thanked her and wished her well. Confidently, she assured me that we would both do well. We did.
Our children all attended college on various campuses in several states. Their experiences varied somewhat. However, none of them were like the experience I enjoyed years ago. I admit that this was a disappointment to me.
College Experience Has Changed Due To Pandemic Induced Self-Isolation
Now, there are even more drastic changes taking place in colleges and universities across the country. Due to the pandemic induced self-isolation, students are being forced to take online classes from pre-school through college.
The significantly increased demand for online college courses has led to a corresponding increase in online courses. Many schools are eager to return to the majority of their classes being taught on campus.
However, there is no assurance as to when this would be a realistic option. Further, many students are finding that they prefer the online option.
It is working out much better than they ever imagined it would. It is also costing many of them less to attend online.
Forced Increase In Online Classes Has A Silver Lining
As the need continues, online courses are expanding across many disciplines. Classes you would not have found offered online until now are becoming more common.
Would you be surprised to learn that some medical schools are offering online courses? There is also an increase in other science classes as well as those for pre-law majors.
Although you can now earn every level of college degree online, not everyone needs a college degree. Some individuals need training and certificates that are now offered online as well.
Thankfully, this terrible disruption of all our lives and the economy does have a silver lining. The forced development of online college classes has opened doors that have previously been closed.
The Future of The College Experience
It is my hope that college campuses will soon be open again. However, it is also my hope that the current trend in online college class expansion will continue.
Attending class from home, and at times more convenient to those with a family, can make a huge difference in who is able to attend college.
Men and women of all ages should have the option to attend college is they so desire. And, being a parent should not prevent anyone from getting their degree.
You have many options available to you now. Our website offers you information to help you choose the best college opportunity for you.