Rant & Rave

By Jennifer Chang

Tuesday, August 24, 1999

Many college lessons
found out of class

When I graduated from high school, I had no idea what to expect in college. In fact, I'm still learning about this place. However, for those of you that are college bound, I have some words of wisdom.

All your life prior to college, everything was structured for you. Now you have the opportunity to do whatever you want. The trick is in knowing what choices to make.

Take classes that you want, and don't follow your friends. College is a time to set your own agenda. I learned how to speak and write Hawaiian. A lot of people questioned me, "You're not Hawaiian. Why are you talking Hawaiian?" But I wanted to learn about the culture and language of the islands where I was born and where I live.

Money disappears fast! At the University of Hawaii, plan on spending $4 to $7 on cafeteria meals, although the lunch served at Castle High School for 75 cents tasted a lot better.

The bigger money shock comes when you realize your books will ring up to a couple of hundreds of dollars. Add this to dorm fees, tuition payments, and the $3 daily parking fee (if you're lucky enough to get a parking space) and you will soon appreciate your money more than ever before.

Which comes to having a job. There are many on-campus jobs at every university. Working on campus is convenient because you don't have to commute anywhere, and can work in between your classes.

Also, at on-campus jobs, bosses are understanding when finals and midterms roll around and you need time to study.

With the money from your job, hopefully you will have enough to live on-campus. Living in the dorms is a great experience. No family members grumbling about the noise that you make at midnight. At the dorm, you can stay up until 3 a.m. But, don't blame anyone if you find yourself falling asleep in your early morning class.

At the end of a long day, take the time to study. No one will care if you don't come to class or come tardy everyday, and studying will be up to you. By studying, you'll have a lot less anxiety when tests come around, and you'll get your tuition money's worth.

The worst place to study is on your bed; you'll only fall asleep on your books. The best place to study is at the library.

I recommend joining a club in your field of study. It's never to early to start. During my freshman year, I joined some engineering clubs and got to meet people that shared similar academic interests. This is important because talking about engineering with nonengineering friends will put them to sleep! Being in a club gave me the opportunity to travel to the mainland for engineering competitions and meet people from different states.

Take a leisure class like dance, juggling or tennis to relax. Take breaks from school to hang out with friends and go to the beach, dancing or a movie.

You will meet a lot of new people. I don't know what happened to 70 percent of my Castle High classmates. In one or two years, everyone will change. Friends may disperse to different states, become alcoholics, or hang out with different crowds. You just have to accept it.

College is not for everyone, and will not guarantee success. In the end, it doesn't matter what you majored in, how long it took you to graduate, or whether you went to college or not. As long as you're happy in your life, work hard, and have tried your best, you will have achieved success.

Jennifer Chang is a Castle High School graduate
now working toward an engineering degree.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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