Classes are going fairly well, though I’m still trying to figure out how much study time I need to put into each one. My teachers are approachable, and willing to help if you have questions. Of course, there has been a few difficulties in transitioning from a studies in a home environment, and since I promised I would show the world exactly what happens when a poor, unsocialized homeschooler finds themselves in college, I must be honest and tell all of the challenges I have had to face in the last three weeks:
The Language Barrier
I have found that students who came from a traditional school environment have a language of their own. Last week, I got up the gumption to answer a question Chemistry, and a girl next to me raised her fist in my direction. Maybe she had wished she had given the answer? Not knowing what she expected me to do, I just smiled at her sheepishly. The girl lifted her other fist and demonstrated (with some exasperation) that she expected me to bump her fist with mine.
Socialization Concerns from Professors
The socialization scene replayed constantly my first month at school. At times this became somewhat repetitive, and I was discouraged to find how deeply this stereotype was still rooted in the academic world, but I believe this ended up as a positive part of my first days as a college student. While frequently conversations don’t go much farther than “what’s your major?” and “where are you from?”, I got to know quite a few people that I wouldn’t have otherwise when they asked about my high school and the conversation took a drastic turn.
Faculty at the college were very concerned about my ability to socialize. Early in the semester, doted on the freshmen, asking the routine questions: hometown inquiries, dorm room conditions, etc. When they learned that not only had I been homeschooled, but was still living at home, their faces displayed surprise and concern. They were sure I must be entirely socially incompetent! I could often allay their fears by telling them I had made a few friends and joined both choir and attended meetings run by the student nursing association. As we parted, though, I could still sense apprehension in their voices.
Socialization, Texting, and Millenial Students
Ironically, these same staff seem to not have noticed the crippled social skills of my classmates. They would only have to peek their heads into a classroom before class, or visit a student get-together to see that something is dreadfully wrong. Times and places that should be filled with introductions and conversations have been transformed. Students have traded actual face to face interactions for the virtual world of texting and Facebook.
This has been my greatest impediment to finding new friends at school, and other students in my class over and over again. Why take the trouble to make new friends when you have instant contact with your old friends via your phone? I hoped to get to know girls I see every day at rehearsal but haven’t formally met by attending a choir Christmas party. It was hard to find someone to introduce myself to, however, since over half the choir plopped down with their cell phones and texted. It was a very quiet ‘party’.
Lest I sound like an anti-progress ranter, I must state that I use texting frequently. It is a great way to send a quick note to a friend you might not have otherwise called, or for Mom to ask me to pick up groceries without interrupting homework. A line has been crossed when it’s acceptable to have a conversation while holding your phone in your hand and glancing at it in between sentences.
‘socialization’ during a break in class