I want to share something with you that Logan Brock wrote about gifted students in college. Logan is a university freshman, and is the College Liaison for the Colorado Association of Gifted and Talented (CAGT).
Practicing Patience: The Trials and Tribulations of my Transition into College
The transition from high school to college is one of the most substantial changes that we undertake in our lives; personally, it has been the biggest change that I have made to date. I spent a good deal of my childhood romanticizing about the day when I would have complete freedom and full control over my own life. My first few months in college have been amazing; however, I have also faced some serious challenges and a sharp learning curve.
As a G/T learner, I believe that one of the biggest challenges, as well as one of the greatest opportunities, of the transition into college is the anonymity that it brings. It offers a chance to reinvent oneself and to become whoever you want to be. However, it also changes the dynamic of the classroom environment. Personally, I had a strong support system around me throughout my K-12 education. I knew my teachers personally and was given the opportunity to learn in classes of 10-20 students. When I arrived at CU, that all changed. My largest class consists of over 300 students and three of my five classes have more than 100. Learning in such an environment is an adaptation that did not occur naturally, at least for me.
The most important piece of advice that I have for students making the transition into college is to be patient. Almost everyone that I have spoken with has told me that they really struggled with their first few weeks in school. The change from high school into college is one that should not be taken lightly. For me, the thing that helped the most in order to feel comfortable and “at home” was time. While it is easy to feel overwhelmed when starting the college experience, just trust that it will all be resolved in time. You will soon find your place and your comfort level in your new environment.
I feel that Logan’s reflections are significant to parents and educators. For those of us working with GT students in high school, our concerns center around supporting them to do well in their classes, helping them to define their future goals, and offering them guidance in finding the connections to make that happen. Whatever their goals are beyond high school, we aim to help them find what path is right for them.
Our focus while they are in high school is on getting them successfully beyond high school. We want them to be happy and hopeful about what is coming next, and we proudly applaud them as they line up to receive their diplomas at their graduation ceremonies. If starting college is next on their agendas, we tend to feel like our job is done, because they have accomplished what they needed to accomplish, and we can envision their life unfolding like a rich smorgasbord in front of them.
Logan gives us insight beyond high school graduation, and on to the next step.
He makes it clear that the transition into college isn’t always smooth. For gifted students, the heightened sensitivities and overexcitabilities that they experience might cause them to struggle more than other students with the transition. I think it’s important that we parents and educators realize that continued support and communication is needed beyond high school graduation, because beginning college might actually trigger that all too familiar sensitivity.
I appreciate that Logan offers some advice to other new college students. And for parents and educators, we need to take steps to make sure that high school graduates are equipped with support systems in college to ensure they know they have not been left to deal with significant transitions like this on their own.