College: The Next Step

By Nicholas Cherico

After students graduate from high school, they are never sure what to expect going into their first semester of college. “Am I going to make friends?” or “How hard are the classes going to be?”. These questions, along with many more, are what went through the head of Julie Henderson of Shirley as she started her college career.

Henderson started taking college courses early, as she participated in the dual enrollment program during high school. She did this for two years at Mount Wachusett Community College, then transferred to Fitchburg State University. After just one year at Fitchburg, she decided to come back to the Mount and is currently in the Dental Assisting program. She is hoping to be in the Dental Hygiene program next fall.

When asked about her transition from high school to college, she said, “It was really tough at first because I was technically still in high school, too. But once I got in a good rhythm it became easy.”

She was then asked about the difference in classwork/homework and she laughed and said “There’s definitely a lot more work and you need to really stay on top of it. If you don’t, you’re most likely going to be screwed.”

Henderson came up with a short list of do’s and dont’s for any student that is coming into their first year of college.

  1. “You will not succeed if you don’t pay attention and get your work done. I thought I would be able to skate by and miss a couple classes my first year and I almost failed. It was a pretty big wake up call.”
  2. “Be friendly. If you don’t make friends and get yourself out there, you won’t enjoy yourself at all. I made a friend in my anatomy class my first semester and we’re still friends now in my dental hygiene program.
  3. “Be open to trying new things. If you stay boxed up in what you’re comfortable doing, you may never find out your true passions in life. When I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do I shadowed somebody who was in the dental hygiene program. It really helped me decide that I wanted to go into dental hygiene!”