Commentary: Why homeschoolers need HVCC

Grace Sgambettera
Creative Editor

Photo by Julio Rodriguez | The Hudsonian Student Newspaper

Sgambettera provides helpful advice to any homeschooled students making the transition to college.

Day one at Hudson Valley was a total culture shock for me, but I cannot recommend it enough to the homeschooling community.

I had never set foot in a classroom of any kind until the fall of 2015. My parents homeschooled me for most of my life, but at the age of 16 I went to college.

There’s a lot of stereotypes about homeschooled kids being socially awkward or sheltered, and while those stereotypes aren’t necessarily true (people do a double take when I say I was homeschooled), it still took a little time to get used to it all: the campus, the other students, answering to a professor, even homework. These were all new experiences for me.

I did not have the typical “high school experience.” Instead, I started attending Hudson Valley my junior year and ended up “graduating” high school through Hudson Valley a year early. I had heard such terrible things about public high school, so I was happy to have the opportunity to do something different.

I studied more or less what I wanted, I was on a college campus and I did not have to ask to use the bathroom. It’s an underrated way to finish high school, in my opinion.

There’s a lot of homeschooled or formerly-homeschooled students on campus, and while our opinions and backgrounds might differ, I personally believe that we benefit immensely from time at institutions like Hudson Valley. Being in this environment exposes us to people who might look different, have different life experiences and different opinions than we do.

As a homeschooled student in rural upstate New York I did have a social life, but most of my friends looked like me, thought like me and were homeschooled for similar reasons. That all changed when I got here. Community college helped to make my transition into “the real world” much smoother.

I try to recommend this path to other young schoolers I know whenever I’m asked, but I understand that for a student who’s considering making this transition, it can seem really intimidating. The biggest thing I try to tell potential students to keep in mind is that places like Hudson Valley are not high schools.

In my experience, the pressures that homeschooled students might face in high school to socialize and fit in are not nearly as prevalent here. I felt that I was able to socialize and make friends without having to pretending to be someone I wasn’t.

I’d advise homeschoolers who are looking for new friends on campus to get involved as much as possible. It may sound like a cliche, but personally, I only made new friends by going out, getting involved in clubs and events around the school and stepping out of my comfort zone a little. Getting involved in the community here is the easiest way for anyone to make friends, and that’s not limited to homeschoolers.

Getting used to speaking up and actively seeking help or advice are helpful skills to learn for homeschooled kids transitioning to a new environment. I found that participating a lot in class, visiting professors during office hours and generally putting in extra effort made everything easier as I was adjusting.

When I needed help, I knew of faculty members to go to, and a lot of my professors worked with me to close any gaps that might have been left in my education before attending. If you need help, there’s always someone willing to help you, but you absolutely have to ask.

Most homeschoolers I’ve met tend to be self-sufficient people, but for newbies, I can’t stress enough that opportunities and assistance are not going to just happen without a certain amount of proactivity on your part.

Community college can be a fantastic alternative to high school for lots of homeschooled students. I cannot speak for every homeschooled kid’s experience here, I can only speak from my own experience.

For me, it has been a good fit. Proactivity and an open mind are the best tools for homeschooled students to do succeed here as they transition into the “real world,” whatever that means to them.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: