Experiencing the college environment


Roshan Fernandez

When junior Animesh Agrawal and senior Aurum Kathuria walked into their first Calculus 1C class at De Anza college, they expected it to be just like MVHS. They expected to hear the constant chatter among students throughout the class period and make new friends. But they were surprised to find a very different environment.

“At De Anza, if the teacher isn’t talking, no one is talking,” Kathuria said. “I was fortunate enough to have a few other MVHS students in my class, and we [were] the loudest ones in the classroom … by far.”

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Both Kathuria and Agrawal had to turn to De Anza to search for higher level courses than what MVHS offered. Both agree that the atmosphere is significantly more relaxed, since the class requires more individual work, as opposed to the intensive instruction or group work in high school. According to Agrawal, this atmosphere allows him to really focus on learning the material for this particular class.

“It’s fun learning new math, and it’s interesting [to experience] how it’s taught in college,” Agrawal said.

Because both Kathuria and Agrawal appreciate the balance between the two different atmospheres that they currently have, they are considering taking additional classes at De Anza College next semester. Agrawal explains he has a particular interest in different languages, and because De Anza offers a much wider variety of language courses than MVHS, he says this is something worth looking into. He expressed his interest in taking German, just for fun.

Senior Varna Chandar took a General Psychology class at De Anza College over the summer. Chandar explained that it was purely for her interest in psychology that she decided to take the class. She also felt that the atmosphere at De Anza was somewhat different than what she experienced at MVHS, especially with the structure of the class.

“There was a lot more freedom with the homework,” Chandar said. “Instead of it being a very strict schedule, it was more like: if you wanted to follow it that was good for you but if you didn’t that was your own loss. It wasn’t very strictly enforced.”

Kathuria explains that he is looking to take classes simply because of his own interest and curiosity. He was previously enrolled in Forensic Anthropology, but he decided to drop when it became too much for him, and is planning on taking astronomy next quarter. But aside from just learning, Kathuria says that the different atmosphere has taught him important skills that will be useful in the future.

“One thing I have learned is people aren’t [as] open and taking initiative and making friends,” Kathuria said. “One thing that’s good is that I’ve gone out of my way to talk with others, so I think that’s something that’s helpful for college classes because it won’t be such simple social interactions.”

Chandar also agreed with Kathuria in that there was not much interaction between the students in the class. She explained that this probably had to do with a very lecture heavy class in that the professor did most of the talking and the students would simply take notes, follow along and occasionally answer a question or two.

“I felt like people in the classroom were sticking to themselves more,” Chandar said. “No one was really there to make friends or try and impress anyone. Everyone was just there to learn and then leave.”

Overall, Kathuria, Agrawal, and Chandar can agree that there are different environments between MVHS and a college class, which is expected. Agrawal explains that although he considered enrolling, he is ultimately glad he did not go to middle college, as it would have been too much change all at once. Kathuria and Agrawal prefer the social atmosphere at MVHS, but they recognize that it doesn’t hurt to begin adapting for the future.

“I would say the MVHS environment is better, here there’s a lot more support,” Kathuria said.  “But I’m [probably] biased, with about three and a half years [at MVHS] and only about a three month period at De Anza.”