Transitioning into college comes with difficulties no matter where that transfer emerges from. Whether it is from High School, GED course, even though a long term hideous from learning in a traditional center, feelings of insecurity are predictable as proven in a study conducted at Stanford University. We were directed in class to review a context sheet and search Greg Walton’s weebly website. As learned from class last week, who is Greg Walton and why does it matter what he declares? He is a psychology professor at Stanford University who has published research and papers primarily regarding social acceptance in connection of higher learning continuation. Completing research was not the end for Walton; he then developed a theory based intervention for first year students who feel as though they don’t belong. The Social-Belonging Intervention has proven as entering into a level of higher education more is needed then just book smarts. The incoming student needs to be introduced to the idea that they are not the only one struggling with uncertainties. Walton worked this angle by utilizing senior students who intern had the same worry and fears as incoming freshman. As the new freshman listen to how other students had the same reservations they were also able to hear how these students overcame with an adaptive mindset, and that senior student now felt at home and had a sense of belonging in the collegial community. As the students made their way from freshman to seniors, GPA’s rose, campus life involvement increased, as well as relationships built, not only with students but facility as well. The importance of this information that Walton collected was especially important with students who were first generation college student, or a minority. Feeling like you are meant to be in a place of higher education, to pull away from any stigmatism that were created by past generations was particularly hard for students who questioned daily “if they were meant to be there”. By presenting the everyday negative setbacks college students’ face early on in the semester and showing that other students who have had the same experience, students were more likely to look at it as communal event and continue to stay engaged in the academic environment.
Walton’s work I believe is instrumental in higher education. In our county there are becoming less and less laborer jobs for uneducated individuals. It is hard to make a living, provide for a family, pay taxes, monthly bills and so forth on a pay that is suited for a teenager fresh out of high school. In a huge conglomerate like Penn Medicine I have never received a raise even with taking on the responsibilities of a manger in a busy outpatient cardiac operation. I report directly to a director of outpatient operations. The hierarchy should work as staff reporting to an office manager, an office manager reporting to a practice manager and a practice manager reporting to the director of outpatient operations. We obviously we have cut a few of the middle men out. I asked my director about a raise due to the fact my responsibilities in the office were not only limited to running the front desk and handling patient care. His exact statement is “without the degree in health care management HR will not agree to pay you more for what you do”. I do not fully comprehend how I can gladly take the responsibilities and accountabilities of an office manager, but cannot see a fraction of the pay. So my plan to finish school came into full effect. Penn offers tuition assistance up to $8,000 a year. Not tax free. I decided to finish my bachelors in nursing. Being as in high school I was accepted into a program that not only did I complete my high school diplomacy, I also obtained a certificate as a graduated practical nurse. Applied to Neumann nighttime nursing program and was accepted within two weeks of my application. Great! I went to open house with my husband and was told to begin the program I needed to have all of the prerequisites completed. Ok setback, but still bound and determined. I went to the admissions office and the class selection was very limited in correlation of my own personal schedule. It is hard to say as a dedicated employee to Penn, they would have still paid for my education if I was leaving work every Tuesday at 11:00am to attend an English class that was only offered at that time for three hours. Thank God for my optimistic outlook. I started looking at different community colleges in the area where it would be easier to get my prerequisites completed and be able to do a complete transfer. I finally came across Delaware County Community College. Their many campuses and nighttime schedules seemed to match my need. I attended an open house with my husband, learned more about the college and what to expect. I always sit in the front and it is hard to people watch from there, but not hard to be watched. My husband brought our age in comparison to the others students seated in the overcrowded elevated auditorium, many with their parents. My age had not crossed my mind until that point. We were then removed from our “parents” and grouped into small groups with student leaders to tour the school and learn more about what Delaware County Community College has to offer. This was the point in which one of the girls in the group I was with asked how old my dad was. My jaw hit the floor, but me being the quick, smart ass I am I said “40 He looks good huh”? My fears that didn’t exist an hour ago now became my reality. I started paying attention to everyone in my group and noticed the rather large age difference. Low and behold an ice breaker game. Let’s line everyone up youngest to oldest without speaking. GREAT! I quickly took the lead with lining everyone up and as the line was complete I shamefully walked to the end of the line. The ride home to Delaware that night was quiet between my husband and I. My mind began to race with thoughts of how will other students perceive me? Will I take on some sort of motherly role in group activities, or be exiled and mocked for being too old and just starting community college? I became very anxious about a week before classes started. As I was out with my son doing his long shopping list for school, I started buying things I may need. There was no book assignment and I could not understand why. I e-mailed the teacher who then confirmed there was no book needed for this class. Whew!!!One less thing to worry about. I arrived early the first night not sure of where I was going, and I am just in general an early person. I am that person you want to invite to the BBQ at 1:00pm because you know I will arrive at 11:45am and help set everything up. My anxiety is not fully lost at this point due to the fact I am only in week 4 of my first semester. I am taking no other classes at the present time. I just wanted to get my feet wet to start. English has always been a strong suite for me, but the Course Syllabus does not exactly follow what I was taught in school over ten years ago. The grading scale Mr. Mangini offers does not really leave room on how your writing is advancing in his class before mid-term. However, I have found some social acceptance from my peers. There is a certain group in the class who are very outgoing and boisterous whom I connect with. There are also students who have a similar scenario of life outside of the class as I do with work, kids, family obligations, not just parties, and booty calls. By finding people on my level, wanting to produce the best work they can in college has made me feel a little less self-conscious in my current environment. I’ve always been a leader, and I see myself asserting that standpoint already in class, but I do not feel I will be ridiculed for being an over achiever by my peers as I was in elementary school.
In conclusion, a need for being needed has always driven me. My patients and family’s’ need for my presence has always made me be my best at every chance presented. I think the fear of the unknown causes the anxiety and worry for students. As with anything in this life, when this is the first time trying the crippling fear can be exhausting. I do believe most students adapt to the college environment because they find their place, among likeminded others.