College not so bad after all

May 27, 2010 — by Roy Bisht

After graduating from Saratoga High last year, alumnus Kirstie Lee was eagerly anticipating starting at UC Berkeley—but was also unsure of what her first year of college would hold for her. Many friends told her freshman year was great; others said it was horrible. A year later, Lee is the one doing the advising—and she’s come out with a positive impression.

“Honestly, the transition from high school to college isn’t as difficult as people make it out to be,” said Lee.

Amidst the horror stories of living alone in college and campuses full of strangers, Lee believes that it is not nearly as bad as everybody makes it out to be. Even though people rarely know each other, Lee claims that it is easy to make friends since everybody is willing to interact and meet new people.

“I think it is important to remember that your whole class is coming in as not knowing anyone else, and therefore it is a lot easier making friends than you would think,” said Lee.

Lee believes that college freshmen are so open and welcoming to each other because most arrive virtually alone. College is also “true to the cliché that it is time to ‘start over,'” according to Lee.

As far as roommates go, Lee had a good experience with hers. Lee and a roommate from Davis were flexible and friendly, compromised easily, and never got even into fights.

Another fear is living without parents. According to Lee, there is no better and easier place to learn how to do this than college.

“Living on your own is not as hard as you think. Learn to do laundry, learn to wake yourself up, learn to feed yourself and you should be fine,” said Lee. “I think parents become less of an influence as you grow up in high school and you just need to make small transitions in college.”

Even though the social and personal aspects of college are simple enough, academics (especially at Berkeley) are demanding. In most high schools, there are only a handful of students that work nonstop and overachieve in every class. But in academic colleges like Berkeley, it seems everybody strives for perfection, Lee said.

“Here [at UC Berkeley], everyone is a hard worker and everyone is your competition. It’s frustrating and it’s stressing, but that’s definitely not to say its unfriendly competition,” said Lee.

Even though the academic competition at UC Berkeley is at a high level, Lee claims that the similar competition is also common at Saratoga High, so high school prepared her for her college education well. Saratoga may have prepared her for school, but Lee says that because of the wealthy environment that she grew up in “it is pretty shocking to meet people who had a 97 percent drop out at their high school.”

Her first year of college may be a whirlwind of new experiences, people, and a new lifestyle, but Lee insists that her freshman year in college has been one to remember.

“This year has been great; college is definitely a roller coaster of new things that might be good or bad, but it all adds up to become really good experiences,” said Lee. ” It’s been an exciting step of life and I’ve had a lot of fun.”