You can't beat the academics at IVC (community college-wise). The professors care about their students (well...most of them!) and will always be available for help during office hours... Take advantage of them! They can help boost your grade and it will be a good thing that the prof knows you by name. As long as you put in the work, everything should be good.
Like I said earlier, some students don't know what the heck they're doing, i.e., they'll be sitting in class staring at their iPad or something. It depends on what class you're taking. Right now, the majority of my Bio 1 class is made up of them. But my Honors Writing 2 class is full of intelligent students who are definitely competent. Don't let other students' behaviors affect yours! If I didn't study in my Bio class like the rest of them, I would undoubtedly be failing this semester.
Class participation varies class to class as does studying. Depends on how academically rigorous the class is. The harder classes are usually being taken by people who know they can handle it, and so they participate and ask questions because they are invested in the class. The easier classes are being taken by mostly people who are just getting the credit and cruising through the semester, i.e., not participating unless they are required to.
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