So many people seem to think that the key to a successful life is getting a college degree. While this may have been important 20 years ago, it seems that a higher education has become just another way for the rich to become richer. For me, college seemed to be a waste of time and money. There was nothing that I learned in the classroom that I couldn’t learn on my own and it would be cheaper to pay for a book instead of a handful of professors who didn’t want to be there. Now I know what you are saying, “obviously you went to a school that just had lower standards.” That may be true in the eyes of some, but I have always believed your education is what you make of it. Whether I went to an Ivy League school or a community college I feel like my experience would have been similar. It seemed like for every good professor I had, there were two bad ones though. From what I hear now, so much material is taught online which certainly makes an education more accessible to those who may not be able to travel, but the one part of my education that I did feel was worthwhile were the conversations and the debates in person. By straying away from this human contact and intellectual banter, schools are taking away the most important thing they could ever teach: how to think. The fact of the matter is that getting an education is no longer about learning, but rather all about making money.
College should not be a wasted time in one’s life though. Here are some things that I learned in my three and a half years away at the university.
-Planning is crucial. In your last semester pick at least two classes in which the content is similar. For instance if you happen to be studying the same time period in two classes at the end of the year, your final papers for both classes might be a little similar. Let’s just say 12 out of 15 references were the same.
-What happens at college, stays at college (with the exception of unwanted pregnancies and STDs). College is really just a bigger high school. There will be so much drama and in 4 years you will be laughing about things that once seemed so terrible. This is a true of life in general, realize it now.
-Don’t stress about picking a major. You can do anything you want to in life even if your degree at the end of it all says Bachelor of Arts. College does not define you, you define who you are.
-Take responsibility. There are plenty of folks who can’t do this still and they call themselves adults. Let this be a time to learn that it is okay to make a mistake. If you mess up, don’t brush it under the rug. Claiming your faults is how learn to fix them. Eating at the dining hall to make yourself sick is not an excuse for why your work isn’t finished.
-Join something! Whether you like music, want to juggle fire, play sports, or feed the squirrels (check it out University of Michigan totally has a club), you will find people that share your interests and quite possibly make your best friends for life. I did.