It dawned on me that this was what college would be like. But with less than two years left in high school, would I be ready? Before that class, all the papers I had written were hardly analytical, simply retelling the plot of a book. I felt cheated.
I stay in contact with most of my graduating class through Facebook. Many of my friends are at four-year schools on the East Coast, and they’ve been through similar struggles in their freshman year. Generally, we agree that our schools did not prepare us, even though they tried. My high school was one of the best I had the choice of attending; compared with other public schools in the District, it made an excellent attempt at getting me ready for college. But any high school administrator in Washington faces a problem similar to my professors at Georgetown: They’re stuck correcting the damage done before we got there.
After all my hard work and good grades in middle school and high school, this year I’ve struggled to become a university scholar. With my first year at Georgetown coming to an end, I hope my grades will reflect the extra effort I’ve put in every day. I go to tutoring twice a week, and I routinely attend my professors’ office hours. This has allowed me to express any frustrations I was having, and my professors could understand that I valued my education.
One of the biggest surprises has been discovering how academically independent I will have to be. No longer can I just listen to my teacher lecture for an hour and absorb everything. Now, I have to go out and get the material, reading more than what is required and doing exercises that I have given myself.
I can now lead discussions in class and have led calculus and biology study groups. I’m getting mostly A’s and B’s. This dedication leaves me little free time to go out on the weekend or visit home. My grandmother calls me daily to check up on me and offers moral support. My social life isn’t as exciting as I hoped it would be because I’m spending so much time studying. But all my extra effort has paid off: I’ve gone from floundering to finally making it at Georgetown.
Darryl Robinson is a freshman at Georgetown University studying health-care management and policy.