From College to Campus
My Plan B experience
by Dillan-James Carter
The Scottish college (equivalent to the American community college) is an underrated educational
stepping-stone in our society. Beforehand it would have been somewhere I’d never considered
going; I was on the average middle-class journey of academy, university, desk job, death. However,
life got in the way and I had to drop out of sixth year, with a few good qualifications in subjects I
hated. So, I decided that I’d go to North East Scotland College to study Social Sciences and take a
chance on subjects I really wanted to learn more about.
I truly loved my time there; the lecturers were all passionate about their subjects and due to the
amount of time spent in class, friendships with people on the course came easily. I think this is
especially important as the diversity of life experiences were vast, from mature students coming
back to education to those on either side of the class spectrum. A big benefit I feel I gained from
college was personal growth, which sounds terribly new-age for a Scottish institution, but I truly feel
that if I’d gone straight to uni I’d be a far less developed person, and definitely far less interesting.
After two years there I used the degree link program to enter second year on a joint honours
program in Sociology and Psychology. I think the most memorable moment when I think about the
transition from college to uni is the library visit. To a college student the zebra cube is an imposing
sight, and even worse are the bohemian people walking in and out of it with apparent purpose, or
the sense of all-togetherness they exude. However, in classes I felt extremely prepared and ahead in
some areas of the subject (though this then led to a false sense of security which may have caused
the occasional lie-in and dip in grade).
Going from a system which has a high amount of lecturer contact to very little was difficult at first;
to having a lecturer bolt from a room quicker than a student was a wonderfully contrasting
experience. But I feel that it sums up an important aspect of university: it’s now your torch to carry.
You can only get carried so far before it’s make or break. It sounds very daunting, and that’s not to
say there are no support networks, but it truly is a bigger challenge than previously faced at college
and is the real tell whether this type of life is for you.
The only things I feel a college student may miss out on is the bonding which may occur in first year,
though I’ve found that you get as much from university as you put into it (if only the same could be
said for pub fruit machines). To college students I’d say to remember that you’ve earned your place
here, take full advantage of the time because it whizzes by and to keep your foot on the gas – a tip
given to me by my college lecturer Brian when he wasn’t going on about the Dons.