Wednesday, May 20, 2015

College : Semester 1 Review

Ok, so I want to write about finishing my first semester of college. Which is actually more like my 7th semester of college, because I've actually gone to college before. But this was my first semester returning to college and my first semester at Tri-C, which is a community college in Cleveland. (First in the state, I believe!) So I just want to write about my experiences and what I learned.

The first thing I noticed about Tri-C, which I noticed in the winter as I was trying to get enrolled, is that the staff is majority black. This is not the case everywhere and certainly not the case at my first two colleges. It was significant in terms of, I guess, atmosphere. I don't know, just that I noticed it is all. This goes with the student population, which is also predominantly black and from inner-city schools and who are poor. Add to that the Art Brute style of the 60s campus, and the place is very different from a lot of places I've experienced. The culture is different too. There was a lot of culture shock, I think. I was surprised at what the students needed. Many of them were not really prepared for college. Many of them didn't have the same social skills that my other colleges did. It seemed the staff had to do more and because of that, the staff was set up to assume people needed more, which is not the case for me.

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In that regards, I didn't like Tri-C. Everything is set up for the lowest common denominator and that was so annoying to me. I had to jump through hoops just to get everything done, hoops I didn't need. I had to take a first year course that was unnecessary. It was set up to teach the students various aspects of college, subjects I didn't need to cover. It was such a huge waste of my time.

I took two classes on campus. I was signed up for three, but was unable to arrive on time to the first as getting to Cleveland from Akron by 8:30a is difficult in the winter. I dropped the early class. I still had two classes on campus, and I hated every second of it. I hated being around the students. Tri-C's Metro Campus often feels like a high school. The students are rowdy, loud, and rude. Every day, someone engaged in some behavior that ignored common courtesy. The students would bring their kids on campus, even in the library, which was distracting. I would go into the archives room, which was quiet. The cafeteria was a mess. Being in class was awful. The students came and go as they pleased, answered their phones in class, asked the DUMBEST questions. I was constantly surprised at just how stupid my fellow classmates were. My online classes set me apart from everyone. Since no one had to answer a question out loud, or ask one, I didn't have to see how stupid my classmates where. My teachers went slower for the other students, and I was often playing in my phone just because I was bored. Then, I was reprimanded for playing in my phone, which was stupid.

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I loved my online classes. Except for the sexism in my Philosophy course, the harassment in my Anthropology course, and the way my Philosophy professor prevented me from working ahead, I loved my online classes. I didn't have to engage with other students, which was a blessing. I never had to speak to a professor. I could do my work, turn it in, collect my A, and move on. It was glorious. I realized, with every awful day spent in class, that online was the way to go. I've chosen to pursue an online degree because of this.

Tri-C is a different world from where I grew up with very special students, but it's a necessary place. Cleveland needs that community college and everything it offers to the people of Cleveland. For me, it's a means to an end. This semester was unpleasant. I felt my time was wasted so often. I bought books I never used. I had to entertain classmates I hated. But I needed this semester to show me how important it is that I pursue an online degree. The classroom situation is not good for me. The online environment is so much better. I love the freedom of setting my own schedule and working ahead in each class.

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I've already found the college I want to attend, and I might even apply to go this year...or not. I'm not sure. Tri-C is a bit cheaper. But since I'll learn online, I can also learn from anywhere, which is great. I'm just glad that I had some financial aid issues and was forced to take this summer off. I didn't know before I completed this past semester, but I need a break. There is so much bureaucracy to college, even in my beloved online classes, and I just needed a break from the bullshit. I hope to recharge and go back this fall full of energy and hope just like I began this past spring semester!

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