College is anything but free


Oscar Avila, Contributor

Transitioning from high school to college is one of the biggest changes in a person’s life. First and foremost, balancing a full-time schedule is not easy, and it’s even easier to lose track of priorities. However, the whole experience is something worth noting and it only gets better with each passing moment.

As a freshman in my third week at UTEP, it is not hard to say that college is better than high school. However, this should be taken with a grain of salt because there are downsides to college. Essentially, when it comes to pursuing a higher education, everything comes at a price both figuratively and literally.

Figuratively speaking, time is money, so it must be spent wisely. Although, certain courses usually have class once or twice a week, most professors recommend working on assignments as soon as possible. This might sound like common sense but unsurprisingly most freshmen, like the one writing this column still fall victim to procrastination.

Professors are lenient about late work the first few weeks of school though, so there is no pressure if students slip up. It varies from each professor, but in my experience,  late work policy was not enforced until the third week. Students are expected to have the necessary materials for class by this point, and those that do not will find themselves in very deep waters.

However, this is where pursuing a college degree comes at a literal price. The materials that students are expected to have are expensive and typically run them upwards of hundreds of dollars. This makes students less eager to share any supplies with their peers, and such is the case in my basic Art courses.

Much like life, college is subjective, and there is more to it then the stress of time management and student debt. The next best thing any freshman can do is become involved through one of the many organizations on campus. I for one work at The Prospector as a  contributor.

It is not a simple job and there is a huge demand for teamwork between the contributors and editors. This establishes a professional community that sets itself apart from friend groups and immediate family. Basically, it is one of the best places to start for freshmen who have never held a job prior to entering college.

Failure here is not taboo as it is in class, because it is a possibility that a contributor’s first story will not be the best one they will ever write. Essentially, there is room for error like there is room for improvement. In this way, it helps undergraduates learn how to constructively criticize themselves and learn from their mistakes.

The variety of individuals in the staff strengthen that practice because there is mutual understanding between the experienced members and the inexperienced newcomers. The returning staff remembers what it was like to be in the shoes of newcomers, so they know exactly how to guide them to success. This is the kind of environment that keeps freshmen from giving up on pursuing their goals.

I am certainly better than I was in high school by immersing myself in a semi-professional environment. Setting up this path so far has been a bit rocky only because the urge to procrastinate is still prevalent. However, it is also assisting in breaking that habit because of the need to be proactive and produce quality work for the campus community.

Ultimately, the freshmen experience at UTEP as of 2018 is possibly unlike any other. There is so much in store for the fall semester that there has never been a better time to be a Miner.

Oscar Avila may be reached at [email protected]