The purpose of my multimedia letter, is to clear up some of the
misconceptions about college, as well as give students accurate
advice along with an accurate perspective of college life at SUNY
The following slides contain:
• A look at the common misconceptions about college, as
represented by the media and the general public.
• Advice and feedback from SUNY Potsdam students
about the realities of life as a college student.
•My own personal advice and thoughts about college life.
Please use your mouse to click through each of the following slides.
The media produces radical versions of who we
should be, how college is, and how college should
affect us. We are told what we should gain from the
college experience and even how we should
Accepted: Meeting the Dean Video
Some thoughts sparked by the video clip:
Is college about the transformation of innocence of youth to the responsibilities of adult
OR breeding buyers and sellers?
Are we maturing into intelligent individuals through the college experience
OR becoming pimps and whores?
Making distinctions about misconceptions:
“What they don't tell you in SAT prep courses is that,
though where you go to college matters, what you do
there is much more important.”
- a quote from Washington Post
parties and sex!
Step Number One:
Break away from the stereotypes!
College is about
Michelle got her 1st degree, in human sciences,
while still in high school. She then went to college
at SUNY Potsdam for three semesters. By the end
of those three semesters she had failed out and
shortly after started working full-time at Walmart.
The following slides contain a written version of
an interview with Michelle that describes her
personal college experience.
-What made you decide to go to college? Particularly a
Liberal Arts college?
I was told to go to college, and then decided to go where my friends were
- Do you feel there are many misconceptions about college? And
if so what are the misconceptions that effected you in particular?
Yes, it's all bullshit. they tell you its gonna make your life better but I’m
working at a job now making more than my sister who graduated with a
double major and triple minor. I am making more than her because she
couldn’t find a job in her field, so she works at Kmart.
- Is the actuality of college different from what parents and
previous teachers and ect tell you? (similar to above)
Yes, everyone makes it out as if it’s a big, higher education ordeal. When
instead many of the people I’ve seen only party here, and then they realize
they will get kicked out if don’t study. It’s then that some learn to study, some
learn to drink and study.
- Did SUNY Potsdam present itself in an accurate light? or Did you
feel mislead in choosing this college?
-What were the most important parts of the college experience
in your opinion?
Relationships, because they kept me sane.
-What key advice would you give to incoming students?
Establish important relationships and maintain good study habits.
- Did you notice a need for layers of self representation now that you are
out of college? Did you notice this need when you were in college?
Yes, when you leave college delete bad photos or get rid of websites that have
information on you. It’s just stupid to leave it online, but I didn’t have this
-Is college really one extreme or the other? Is it either bullshit
or the key to success?
Of course not, it’s a mixture. Nothing is that black and white. It’s
all shades of grey. It also depends on how far you are. A first
semester freshmen might party and fail because its their first
semester and they want to. But its also not just partying, it’s
partly caused by connections and being in the right place.
Everyone will be affected differently and react differently.
Chris moved out of his parents house and started working at
different odds-n-ends jobs for a few years before deciding to
return to college.
The following slides contain a written
version of an interview with Chris that
describes his personal college experience.
-What about your position in life made you decide to go to college after already
being out in the employment world?
1- I had planned on going to college, I just took break before-hand to have a
better idea about what I wanted to do in college.
2- Also holding down 2 jobs to stay in a one bedroom apartment, while not
being able to afford necessities, enjoyments or even car repairs made me
realize it’s hard to enjoy life without a college education.
- What advice or warnings did you get about college before you began working
and was it different from when you decided to enroll in college?
Most of the warning I heard didn’t apply to me because I’m not a partier,
but I think living on my own did make a big difference. I didn’t have an
explosion of freedom. I didn’t have people telling me what to do, when to go to
bed, or to do my homework, most people are constantly used to that and when
it’s gone they lose total sense of responsibility. I had a better sense of
responsibility after living on my own and I realized how serious beyond college
is and the necessity of taking care of myself.
-Now that you have experienced several years of college, is it
what you expected and what can you tell other incoming college students
to expect. Will this advice/ your experience of needed advise be different
since you were older and more experienced at living on your own before
What is expected: It is a lot more work than first appears, especially
as you get higher in grade level or credit level.
Advice: Don’t treat it like high school, otherwise it will kick your ass.
-What were your misconceptions about college if any? What would you
advise others about misconceptions?
I didn’t buy into misconceptions. Some kids come to party and
dowhatever they want away from their parents. Some kids think it’s
either all studying or all partying but its really about moderation and
-Did SUNY Potsdam present itself in an accurate light? or Did youfeel
mislead in choosing this college or any college?
I actually just decided to come here. I saw a program I enjoyed on
the website and just came here, with no extensive research or persuasion
from faculty or staff.
-Does you see a need for layers of self representation? Was this
different before you returned to college?
It is different from when I started college because before I didn’t
carewho saw my myspace profile. It depends on the person himself. If
yourepresent yourself as an alcoholic party girl, a business with a need
be respected or being a public servant you can’t have photos
of yourselfwasted everywhere.
What were the best or most important parts of the college
Learning to be responsible and able to meet challenges, while
making friends. Really just growing as a person and graduating.
College has been called many things and has been idealized as either
the salvation of the youth or just another extension of immaturity before
entering the employment world. From my own personal experience,
along with the stories and advice of others in mind I’ve created my own
list of advice on how to best live through and thrive in college.
•Be smart from the start. Yes it’s ok to have some fun and
blow off classes for awhile, be realize that semesters are
short and each time you skip class or don’t do an assignment
you’re lowering your chance for a good grade. Not to say that
you should never skip, but realize that all things must be done
in moderation and with some knowledge of the consequence
of each action.
•Experience it! Don’t just go to class and then back to your
room. Explore campus, go to club meetings, sit in the Union,
visit Pete’s Place, go to campus activities and games. The
best part of college is not just having free reign over your own
social life, but learning who you are and how you want to live.
So get out and discover new things and even re-discover the
old things you’ve been doing with new people.
•Avoid falling into stereotypes! A lot of kids come to college
thinking they know exactly the “type” of person they are: partier,
bookworm, jock, sorority member and so on. But the beauty
and point of college is growing up, and as we become more
mature we need to realize that stereotypes are not how we can
define ourselves or others. So don’t think that college is just
studying or just partying. College is about everything. Its about
teaching not only your major, but how to live and thrive on your
•College is not an extension of high school! Most of the
warnings you’ve heard about college probably won’t be true,
depending on the source, but this one is the most important
and the most helpful: College is not high school. Yes you can
skip class, come late, text through the whole lesson, visit
facebook on your computer, but where does that get you?
Most-likely a low grade and at least a dozen irritated
classmates. Treat your classes and your work seriously.
Especially the higher level of classes you attend. Treat your
work as a representation of yourself and your abilities, and not
just something you throw together to get the assignment done.
If you do this as an incoming student you’ll be more prepared
and equipped with a positive mind-set about assignments.
As the incoming students of SUNY Potsdam you are the key to our
school. Have the time of your life, while working as hard as you
I sincerely hope this presentation was helpful and remember you
create your own college experience, you are here to live and
create your own life, your own future. Good Luck!