High school a joke compared to university

Being in my first year of university here at Wilfrid Laurier University, I’ve found so far that the academics are very challenging. It’s not that I’m completely oblivious to the fact that we’re supposed to be having a hard time, but I feel as though it could have been a little easier for me — and a lot of other people — had we obtained the knowledge and skills we needed for university. This could be anything from note-taking to study habits, essay writing to working routines.

I was talking to a friend last week about his university experience and he told me something I had realized but never thought of. High school completely skips over the fundamental university skills we need in order to succeed in the post-secondary world. He told me, “I don’t know, I just feel like I wasn’t given the proper knowledge for what I’d be doing now. I’m learning it all on my own — like how to study, how to take notes in class. High school honestly seems like a joke to me now.”

Despite my love for everything about high school, I realized that he was absolutely right. High school teachers don’t force you to take notes with them simply talking to the class; they write your notes on the board or put them on projectors for you. No one in the secondary curriculum informs you of the importance of studying — a lot of people, myself included, got by only studying for an hour or so before a test. The knowledge you obtain in high school is nothing compared to what you learn in university.

According to the Edmonton Journal, the workload is so much heavier than what any of us have ever experienced that one in seven students (15 per cent) drop out of university. There are obviously a variety of reasons as to why a student would choose to drop out, including their dislike for the program or their inability to find a suitable job through their studies. Yet, I feel the overbearing stress of this new experience takes its toll on many first-year, and even senior-year, students.

Perhaps the elimination of grade 13 in high school has greatly affected the success rates of university students. It’s, perhaps, the missing piece that connects students to higher grades and better achievements.

For some students that thrive in high school, the fifth year may seem redundant, because they may be ready for the university or college experience. I’m not one of those people. I find keeping up with the work to be a challenge because of the abundance of it, but the root of my concern comes from my inability to take notes quickly and accurately and then trying to study from them.

The point I’m trying to make is that my spiteful feelings toward university come from high school’s failure to provide me with the foundation that would actually help me now.

One Comment

  1. As a high school teacher myself I try to teach these essential skills to my students but most do not care or are always on their phones. About 5% will care and apply the skills I teach. It’s a choice they have made.

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