Opinion: Reset Your Mindset

Stephen Tahbaz, Editorial Director, Junior

As another PMHS class heads off to college, there are a few looming concerns that remain on everyone’s mind. Regardless of where new freshmen are attending, there is always a certain level of difficulty in adjusting to a new environment, new friends, and the deep terror (or relief) of living independently. Surely, some will feel that they don’t need to adjust; they’ve been riding the status quo for all of high school, so they’ll be fine transitioning into college. However, making the switch into an adult, college mindset must be made regardless of one’s high school experience.

According to a Washington Post article from June 8, 2018, a mere 40 percent of first time students that attend a four year college will graduate in four years. This means that a whopping majority of young adults will dropout, take a gap year, or will fail to graduate on a traditional path for another reason. More specifically, based upon the August 2014 report by College Atlas, 30 percent of students drop out of their four year institutions in their freshmen year. By this logic, three out of every ten Pelham students will leave their new school within their first year. Why? According to Great Schools, an independent pre-college consultation organization, the second greatest reason for freshmen dropouts, behind cost, is a lack of preparedness. Simply put, many students enter college thinking that they can handle a new experience with the same mindset that got them through high school, and soon find out that this is not the case.

Many colleges introduce their incoming students to each other with a freshmen orientation. Whether it’s an excursion to a hiking spot nearby, an extended tour of campus, or random pairings to meet new people, universities take steps to ensure that all students feel comfortable on campus. But once this orientation ends, students are on their own. Though procrastinating might have worked in high school, if the statistics are any sign, this work ethic won’t cut it in college. Students will no longer have seven hour long days of classes five times a week. A college freshman will have much more free time on their hands, which may tempt them to slack off even more. However, it’s important to capitalize on this time off. Get assignments done earlier, and then spend your down time relaxing or socializing. Don’t wait until the last minute!

Once one enters college, the safety net of parents falls away. If a student’s grades start to slip, parents may not be there to scold them and push them to work harder; only the student can improve their performance. This is the inherent risk of college. But this can also be a reward. Make college the big step into being an independent adult. Take the anxiety that comes from being far from home and on your own with difficult work, and turn it into something positive. Students should try to enjoy the freedom and appreciate the leeway that they’re given. Make time for work as well as fun. College is an incredible four years of life. Pelham students: make it past the first one. Don’t become another statistic.