Transitioning from high school to college is a difficult process in so many aspects, especially when you quantify the differences. With almost 30,000 enrolled undergraduates and almost 45,000 enrolled graduates, my university has a huge population. Still, perhaps those numbers don’t astonish me as much as they should since I graduated from a huge high school and know what it feels like to constantly be swarmed by thousands of people.
Although my high school had a population of only about 2,700 students and my class of 650 students broke California’s record for most students graduating this year, the numbers still pale in comparison to my university. Still, going from big to bigger, there will probably still be some similarities between the two given the following unforgettable characteristics.
1. Bathroom lines are the worst.
Maybe it was because our high school had few restrooms. Or maybe it was the fact that only three out of the six were open to students during the day. Regardless, going to the restroom during passing period means you are late to class. As if getting through the halls wasn’t difficult enough, holding your pee until lunch was worse. Especially since everyone else also had to pee by then and the line was even longer.
2. There’s TONS of clubs.
The option to join a club was always available to students on campus, especially when four or five are created every year. Although attendance usually drops throughout the year and most clubs wither into nothingness, there’s some really popular ones that maintain their status throughout the year and come up with ways to help out in the community. They also helped your grade. Whether or not this was exclusive to my high school, donating books, toys, sweaters or canned food in classes to help those clubs collect for their cause meant receiving extra points in your grade sometimes. The more the merrier!
3. Who’s my counselor?
We had probably 6 counselors for all 2,700 counselors and new ones every year for whatever reason. I was lucky enough to get to know my kind and caring counselor my senior year as she was genuinely invested in helping me get into college. But if you’re an underclassman, you probably won’t see or talk to your counselor except for two times a year (the beginning and the end of the year). Who cares, right? You do not need a letter of recommendation until your senior year anyways...
4. Clique, clique, clique...
Although it might be hard to find yourself among so many people, it’s not as hard as you would think. Whether it was the library lunch group or guys in the quad throwing footballs or the girls gossiping in the restroom, I never really came upon someone who was alone. Pairs, squads, sports teams, club members, ASB, theatre, AP, IB or whatever you fit into, most people are able to find friends to hang out with at some point during their four years of high school because there is so much diversity on campus.
5. Lunch lines are also the worst.
Lines are just terrible. Leaving in your car to go out to lunch was a race because the longer you were in line the less time you would have to eat before class started again. The cafeteria was always crazy loud and the people cutting in line made the food even less appealing to me.
6. Administrators everywhere.
We had three vice principals, three or four security guards, and so many teachers on campus. If there ever is not an adult to watch you, you’re not on campus. Yet somehow, there are still never enough of them. Especially with what’s next on the list.
7. Fights all year long.
My senior year did not have many but my freshman and sophomore year had fights probably every month. I never knew who it was or why they were fighting, but there were videos because we're Millennials. My freshman year a food fight broke out in the cafeteria and I had ranch thrown at me. We also have had a seagull problem for as long as I can remember. Bird poop or ranch, I still screamed when it got in my hair and the janitors were probably still angry.
8. Big school, big city.
Going to school in the district of San Bernardino means that the district serves more than 54,000 students. San Bernardino itself is a melting pot and diversity feels like an understatement if you come from the city. Minorities are your majority in this city. Consequently, the same is reflective in your schools. We have classroom size problems and our freshman class is always significantly higher than the senior class, but we’re all from San Bernardino. We all have each other’s backs and strive to succeed together as a community. #SanBernardinoStrong
9. Sports teams are better.
Our football team is immense, competitive and has had tons of success in our league. I felt like our home football games always had a positive turnout. Our cheerleading squad was large and peppy, the bleachers were full of hype and school spirit and the marching band was large and rowdy. I may or may not be looking forward to tailgating in college.
10. Graduation is TOO long.
Some people say they could relive graduation over and over again. I am not one of those people. I would relive the 5 seconds I walked across the stage but maybe not the hours of preparation for those few moments. This year in particular the temperature was close to 100 degrees and those gowns were stuffy. Waiting for more than 650 students to graduate was miserable. The pride of graduating, though, is everlasting. The speeches had me sobbing and my friends and family were ecstatic but it was much longer anyone could ever be ready for.
When it comes down to it, I feel like my high school experience was better than I could have ever imagined. Going to a high school with a enormous population meant that there were so many people I could look to for support. The lines sucked and I did not know most of my graduating class, but I knew I belonged.
Lead Image Credit: Johana Guerra-Martinez