First off, I would like to say GO HAWKS! THEY’LL BE BACK NEXT YEAR!!!!
Anyway, back to the topic…As someone who has always tried to be efficient with my time and resources, applying for Running Start was a no-brainer. Over the years, I had heard stories of people getting their associates degree as they graduate high school. They were not only saving money, but also going to college early! College has always been something that I have looked forward since I am from a family that highly values education.
As I moved with my family from Portland to Vancouver in late September, I went straight to the Running Start office without even knowing which high school I would be enrolled in. Luckily enough it was the very last day to register for classes, so I met up with my counselor, filled out all the paper work, took the tests and registered for the few classes that were still open.
I was stoked! Classes were starting soon and I had nearly no clue of what was lied ahead. The first day of class was not as intimidating as I expected but it was definitely unlike any class I had before. As days and weeks passed, I began getting a hang of the college lifestyle, the community and the work that was required of me. This all took time as going to college was a big transition and quite an underestimated change. Now being close to graduation, here are a few tips I have come up with so far (with the help of some valuable information provided by the Running Start staff):
1) Be prepared for major changes.
The transition from being in a setting with high levels of control, oversight and guidance to an atmosphere of high responsibility and freedom can be overwhelming. Although college classes are very diverse, most of them differ greatly from a high school class in it’s structure and requirements. With the amount of freedom given, there is greater responsibility as well. Expect the unexpected and do your best!
2) See your Running Start Advisors.
The staff at the Running Start office are extremely kind and are there to help! Visit them for more tips, questions or see an actual Running Start advisor who can help you with setting up your academic plan. Speaking of plans…
3) Have a Plan.
From my experience, I have learned that it extremely important to know where you’re going, how to get there and to stick through. It isn’t bad to change your mind about your career goal or degree, but try to make your decision sooner rather than later so you can spend more time achieving your goals. Career Services is a great place to get started if you are undecided about your professional goals. They provide career tests, help with resumes and have knowledgeable career advisors.
4) Build a network of support.
Whether it be your friends, family or a counselor, it is important to have a group of people who are there for you. Especially those who can help you be accountable and support your priorities rather than trying to ruin them (ahem, partying…). There are multiple clubs and events where you can find people with similar goals who can help you stay motivated and focused.
5) Keep in touch with your high school counselor.
I cannot stress this one enough! You’re first priority should be to graduate from high school, and then from college. Be sure you are completing the necessary requirements and staying in touch with your counselor continuously.
6) Utilize Campus Resources.
Something that I was not aware of before I became an ambassador (which was after I finished RS) was the multiple resources available at Clark to help you be successful. From tutoring to student success workshops, being involved will benefit you greatly in the long run. Check out the Student Life office to find out about upcoming events or come by the Welcome Center to get information on tutoring, advising and other helpful services.
7) Ask for Help.
Life can get tough when you try to juggle the many social, academic and personal responsibilities. When you need help, ask for it! Whether it be your close network of people, a friend or a counselor (the Health and Services of Clark College offer free appointments with licensed counselors), seek out support when you need it! And also look for support from fellow Running Starters who are facing many of the same challenges.
8) Be aware of the diversity.
Clark College is proud to have a diverse population. We try our best to celebrate our differences and bond through them. At Clark, you may encounter people you have never had the chance to get to know before. Unlike in high school where most of the students are similar age (and therefore mindset and lifestyle), you will find yourself surrounded by people different than you. This may be challenging in ways, but is still extremely beautiful.
As mentioned above, there will be more responsibilities and work suddenly piled up. You may even still be participating in sports or clubs at your school and on top of that a social life! I find it very helpful to periodically take time to sit down and analyze my priorities and make sure I am sticking to them.