Transitional Shock

Janet Bennett states in her article that “culture shock” can exist in transitional experience. Once experience where I first had trouble adapting an environment was when I started my freshmen year at Pacific. Although, I was born and raised in Stockton, attending Pacific seems as if it were an entirely different world. Many students at Pacific, especially those from Stockton, say the UOP is its own bubble in Stockton. The culture and the social life was quite different from what I was accustomed to in high school. I was used to knowing everyone, being in the same social groups as athletes and student government was normal. Here, I found that Pacific had quite a few cliques. Greek life only associated with Greek life or athletes only associating with fellow athletes, so on and forth. I found myself feeling alone and I feared that I was missing out on the whole college experience. Bennett described loneliness as one of the symptoms of culture shock. Loneliness was definitely what I felt during this time. Granted, I came in with an amazing group of people in my scholarship program. However, I felt as if I wasn’t involved enough or doing things everyone else was doing. The four stages, according to Bennett, that represents the process during a transitional experience. The first being fight, during this stage, the person’s guard is usually up. At this moment, the person has high expectations of the experience or place. This sort of relates to my experience transitioning from high school to college. I had extremely high expectations of college and how I planned to make a change in my life. Unfortunately, that mindset was torn down after the first month of the semester. The next stage is “flight”. Flight occurs when the situation is overwhelming and the person becomes discouraged and withdrawn. Relating back to my experience, I thought about leaving Pacific. I was envious of what my friends had at other college campuses. I felt that I was again missing out. My friends also made me feel as if staying in Stockton for college was an indicator that I would be “stuck” here for the rest of my life. That was until I started to see the positive aspects of attending Pacific. The third phase is “filter”. Filter occurs when the person starts to adjust to their environment and lower their defenses. During this stage of my transitional experience, I started to realize that I had a pretty good thing at Pacific. The small classes, the personal interaction with professors, and how easy it was to register in comparison to other public universities. The last stage was flex. Flex is when defenses are dropped and perspectives are changed in order to adapt to our new surroundings. Finally, once I began my sophomore year. I became more involved and started to appreciate the opportunity I was given.

One thought on “Transitional Shock

  1. I really liked how you related the cultural shock to your experience here at Pacific, and I am really glad you are enjoying it more now!

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