Teachers College Experience

By Frank Tiscareno, Staff Writer

Curious about college and what the college experience is like, the Galileo Press realized the best way to find out would be to talk to teachers about their experiences. Every other week, we will feature 2 teachers, talking about what it was like for them in college. Hopefully this gives students some insight into what college is like before they live out the experience for themselves.

Mr. Cadette, Biology Teacher (University of Arizona)

Where did you go to college and why did you select that college?

First, I went to Plattsburgh State in upper New York right out of high school and got out. Then I went to Santa Fe community college in Florida and got enough credits to get back into school. But I went to the military instead. In the Air Force I went to the community college. I got out of the Air Force then went to Pima Community College then to University of Arizona where I studied abroad in Taiwan. Then I went to Stanford University, National University of Singapore, and University of Hong Kong before I finally graduated. I did my final years of school at Columbia University in New York.”

What was your experience in college like, did you enjoy college why or why not?

“So, I was a bad high school student and I didn’t have a lot of skills that you need to succeed in college like discipline and organization. So I failed out of Plattsburgh. I wanted to study more and get a good job so I started learning about how to study and how to do well. I also love studying abroad.  I thought that by studying abroad I made the best use of college. It was absolutely awesome to go to all of the different countries.”

What challenges did you face adjusting to life in college?

“The hardest thing was probably self-reliance and self discipline. I took a couple of online courses and never finished them because I didn’t really have the motivation to force myself to do the work. Another big challenge for me was balancing my social life and my school life. I could say that my first try at college was a very expensive social experiment.”

How was high school academics different for you than college?

“I don’t remember, but my recollection is that you have to be a lot more self disciplined in college. In high school, your teachers kind of tell you what you’re missing or kinda hold your hand. In college they don’t do that at all.”

How do you think you grew/changed through your college experience?

“When I went to college as an 18 year-old I knew that I wanted to be a biology teacher, and then when I went back to school 15 years later, I still knew that’s what I wanted to be. I think the big thing that college did was taught me really cool things about the world and by knowing more about the world I think that changed me.”

What is your best college memory?

It was definitely my study abroad. I went to Africa, Asia, and visited like 45 different countries including Indonesia, Malaysia and China. I ate all kinds of awesome foods and I just really loved that experience traveling.” 

Ms. Sheppeck, English Teacher (UC Santa Cruz)

Where did you go to college and why did you select that college?

“I went to UC Santa Cruz and I went there, not because I wanted to go there but because at that time nobody ever talked to me about a college other than the UC system.”

 What was your experience in college like, did you enjoy college why or why not?

“I liked my courses and loved my teachers, but I kinda wished I was somewhere else because I wanted to go to a college in a big city. I never really found a way to fit in socially, but the programs and academics were good so I liked it there.”

What challenges did you face adjusting to life in college?

“I don’t think there was anything challenging because I was prepared, and I wasn’t home sick so that wasn’t a problem. What was an issue for me was I could’ve gotten more of a college experience if I went to a different school with a smaller undergrad.”

How was high school academics different for you than college?

“I had more papers in college and it was a little stressful, but I was prepared because I knew what classes I was going to take before I went there. Plus I knew how to write, so I was prepared. I think in high school though there was less long papers, and it wasn’t as stressful.” 

How do you think you grew/changed through your college experience?

“I didn’t think I was going to get into teaching English. I started as a biology major, but I got into environmental studies. In that program I had a professor who I could talk to and who taught me how to find my interests. I started thinking of my interest more closely and I realized that I wanted to continue environmental studies, which eventually led me to English.”

What is your best college memory?

“I had this excellent class and this particular professor, where every week we used to go to his house and study there and eat afterward. He had us take a book and read it so well that you could represent the book and explain it. It was great because all you had to do was read and think about the book; unlike different classes where we had to do a lot of papers. I’m glad I had this opportunity because it was a different learning experience.”

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