Student Spotlight: College Q&A

March 02, 2015

Student Spotlight: Anthony Garcia

Anthony Garcia, an Upward Bound graduate from Columbus Community High School and current freshman at the University of Iowa, tells the real story of his transition to college, including the struggles and challenges of navigating in a new college environment...

Q: Thanks for sitting down to chat with us, Anthony! We appreciate that you’re willing to give us an insider’s perspective on college life. So… how would you describe your transition from high school to college?

A: Overwhelming! There were so many people here [at the University of Iowa], and I went to a small high school. In high school I had thought about classes and how they would be challenging, but I had never thought about how many people would be here.

Q: Has college been what you expected?

A: I expected the schoolwork. I knew it would be tough. What I didn’t expect was not liking my roommates. I ended up not spending much time in my room. I really only went there to sleep.

Q: We’re sorry to hear that! What have you been doing in your free time to keep yourself busy then?

A: I’ve been running with a running club or at the university Rec Center. I got a random email about the running club and decided to join. It’s open to everyone, so I’ve met some cool people there, like a 36 year old guy from Korea who came to the UI to get his law degree. He has a family and works in petroleum, and he’s fit too! There’s no way I would have met him otherwise.

Q: I hear you’ve been training for a half marathon?

A: It’s my life goal to run a marathon, so I figured I’d start with half marathon. Four days a week, I wake up at 6:30am to go to the Rec Center and run on treadmill. It's way too cold to run outside!

Q: What was your plan coming in to college your freshman year?

A: I wanted to major in biology and become a doctor.

Q: And now?

A: I realized after my first chemistry test that becoming a doctor wasn’t for me. It kicked my butt. There’s lots of chemistry involved in being a doctor, and I didn't learn chemistry in high school. And becoming a doctor is too much of an investment in time and money.

Now I’m going to go in to nursing. I still want to graduate from Iowa with my bachelor’s degree, but I’m going to transfer to Indian Hills Community College to get my Associate Degree in Nursing, get my feet wet and get some experience. I’ll transfer back to UI to get my bachelor’s.  At UI you take more labs, but in [community college] there’s more interaction with people and patients. Plus I’ll save myself money.

Q: How have you changed between your first and second semester?

A: My study habits have definitely changed. I'm not as lazy. I'm on top of things. I don't procrastinate as much. I save myself a lot of time by getting started on stuff early.

Q: What’s your strategy for success as you plan to transfer to Indian Hills?

A: I plan to meet people and get my work done. I won't be a shy freshman anymore... in the first days everyone is sitting there shy and doesn't want to talk. I'm over that. I know now that people are just people.

Q: What was your best experience freshman year?

A: Homecoming was super cool… watching the stage and everyone cheering. During football season on game day it’s alive.

Q: Any regrets?

A: Not meeting more people and falling in to the “shy freshman” thing.

Everything happens for a reason. I changed majors and didn't do well in chemistry… that told me maybe I wasn't supposed to be a doctor. If I really wanted it, I don’t doubt that I could do it.

Q: Any advice for college-bound high school students?

A: Talk to roommates beforehand, that's for sure. Talk to people in general. You never know who you’ll meet. Plus, get your work done and don’t procrastinate, as cliché as that is!