The experiences and challenges encountered by first year students in most schools and colleges across the globe tend to vary. In some cases, students have bad experiences whereas others tend to enjoy their first year under the new learning environment. The general experiences encountered by first year students greatly influence their individual perceptions about their new school or college, their academic performance, personality and even their social lives. Over the years, it has been a tradition for schools and colleges to formulate vision and mission statements that reflect their objectives in regard to teaching and preparing their students to face future challenges with the much needed confidence. With this in mind, parents and students tend to select appropriate schools and colleges, with high expectations in regard to good learning environment, academic excellence, and improved performance in co-curricular activities, etc. The question of whether or not student and parent expectations are fully met and/or addressed is subject to discussion and may draw a wide range of answers, depending on the diverse backgrounds and varied student expectations.
This essay shall attempt to give an explanation of the experience of a first year student whose academic ability is slightly below average. To bring out a clear image of the subject of discussion, the experiences and encounters of this student will be highlighted based on the tight schedules adopted in implementing the requirements of the Academic Instruction Service, recovery program for the academically weak students. This shall be based on the student’s encounter and experiences observed for a few days in the course of her studies.
Despite her general weaknesses in mathematics and reading, the student in question is determined to do better and seeks extra support and coaching from her colleagues and teachers. This has posed a challenge to the student, making her to adjust her time and planning schedules in order to make her fit in the Academic Instruction Service – AIS program which in this case starts at 8:00. This is quite difficult for the student for its similarity to a crash/recovery program where the weak students go through a series of revisions comprising of class work covered in approximately four days a week, that is two days set aside for mathematics and the other two for reading. The student’s encounter with the AIS crash program is quite involving since it entails wide range activities for instance supervised tutorials, group discussions, computer aided teaching and learning sessions especially for statistical data entry and analysis, intensive practical sessions, etc. In addition, the AIS recovery program has set aside an additional three hours after 3 pm for private prep and consultations between students and the academic staff.
If the student takes this learning approach and first year experience with an open mind, there are chances that she may record tremendous improvements in her weak areas. In addition, the fact that the student’s academic ability was tested before her admission in the new school, coupled with the academic discussion group where she finds herself is a clear indicator that the school’s academic staff have identified her weaknesses and seen the need to improve her performance by grading her together with other students with similar academic weaknesses. The student’s bad experience during her first year of studies may therefore be used to her advantage depending on her interpretation and perception regarding the school’s approach to helping weak students.