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Life in college is breathtaking. On one hand, it is so because the amount of pressure that lies on anybody to complete and get the degree(s) that they dreamt of. On the other hand, though, is the extreme experience of freedom from parents. Also there are other great things such as friends and facility.

The very first step in college was already overwhelming. I was able to fix my calendar to somehow allow me to sleep until lunch and won’t be home any time before 9. That was the very first experience that I thought I was officially an adult, I sensed freedom. My dream of getting straight As exposes as I was able to choose all the course I wanted according to my interest. I believed everything on Earth lies within reach, that nothing is impossible to achieve.

Ngoc Khiet (first from right) with new friends in college

Then as the semester went in for three weeks, that was when everything hit every single students. Regardless of the tremendous amount of work load that we all have to face each night, tests and deadlines creeping on students and haunts us even when we sleep. That was the very first pressure that college students experienced the change after high school. As I recall, when the semester was five weeks in there was a number of students dropping out. Though this may discourage, in fact they are interestingly a distill tool to find out who are serious students from those who are not. Work load is hard but as soon as one get his/her head into the “game”, one would automatically feel an expansion on the horizon and realizing how limited knowledge that anyone have learnt in high schools. We get stuck in the lectures, the researches that our professors concluded. We start realizing what interest us and forming what we want to do in the near future. Unlike in high school where we urge to skip classes, in college, as my experience, many really do want to go to classes. On one hand it’s because it’s interesting, while on the other hand no one wants to fall behind in competing with other classmates. College creates an incentive where students thrive to be better if one is determined.

Another great thing in college is facility. College are not only for students, but also are for professors doing their researches. For learning, lecture halls are supplied with various technologies in order to help delivering best learning experience to the students. There are also labs equipped with wide range of components to serve the experiments, from bones to chemical substances. Similar to the library, the amount of books and resources to find are huge, both offline or online. For me, stepping into those resources make me feel so small and overwhelmed by the knowledge that humans have conducted. Whenever I need a topic to write about, or a study that I would present on, these materials are always there to back me up, and helping me understand the questions that I wonder.

Clubs and group activities are also an undeniably great thing about college. As so many different people you encountered, it would be easy to find a group the best fits your interest. There are so many events, camps and club activities that in high schools are so limited off due to dependence of parents and responsibility of the school. These events provide great opportunities for anyone to meet new friends and join different sports. Pressure from studying is great, and these are anti-stress pills that all students need to enjoy the years.

Beside from the amount of work that one must complete in college, it truly is an amazing place that preparing anyone to become more independence and reliable on their journey to mature. Even though the price must pay is the stress and change in environment, I definitely think it’s worth to be on this path to grow up.

La Ngoc Khiet - First year student of Orange Coast College (USA), CIS alumni of class 2012-2013