Academic Expectations & Pressures

A Student Perspective on Academic Expectations & Pressures

Academic expectations and pressures perspective 1:

Going to college for the first time is a new experience for anyone. For many, the level of commitment to academics is much higher than it was in high school, thus naturally resulting in a higher level of stress. Most students realize the importance of being dedicated to their schoolwork however, because they have made a high personal investment into earning an educational experience that will benefit them for a lifetime. While the level of stress may seem insurmountable, Gustavus students have several different services available to them to release energy and unwanted stress – from campus breaks to activities in the residence halls to programs sponsored by the counseling/advising centers on-campus.

Academic expectations and pressures perspective 2:

I am a straight A student. I cannot fail. This is my first year at college and if I can’t handle the workload now, how will I ever graduate? This was the horrifying message that replayed in my mind a thousand times as I sat in my Calculus II course at Gustavus. At every test, my body went numb. Why didn’t the answers come? This should be just like high school! I didn’t graduate at the top of my class to end up embarrassing myself in my first college classroom. The answers always came to me before. I never panicked like this; I never left a page blank before. All my worst fears had come true. I was the big fish in the little pond back home and now I’m drowning in the sea of a new environment.

As a student employee of the Admission Office of Gustavus Adolphus College, I can attest that students applying to private liberal arts schools are highly driven in and out of the classroom. Most are taking increasingly challenging courses in high school in order to prepare themselves for the collegiate level. Many are urged that they must get into the “right” college so that they can begin the “right” career and have the “perfect,” success lifestyle. I must strongly recommend to anyone reading this that while a college education is a priceless commodity in today’s job market, it by no means is a free ticket to riches. Students must realize that while everyone can find success, everyone will also experience defeat. The world will not end if I receive an A- or even a B or C. Grades are not meant to be taken as an evaluation of your personal worth; grades are a simple tool of perspective. Competition can be a healthy catalyst but can also be taken too an inappropriate extreme. Parents and guardians, please make sure that your student understands and is fully prepared for the prevalent relativity experienced as one moves from a high school environment to a college or university. Success is measured by experience, not mere points.