Education 101: Hope for College Students

It’s January again.  Christmas presents have started to lose their novelty.  New Years’ resolutions are hanging by a thread.  The chill has become more nuisance than magic.  (Especially for a coastie like me.)  And probably the most normal thing of all: school is back in session.

I’ve always liked school.  I take pride in the things I accomplish, and most of those things have been related to my academics.  But I think everyone is just a little bit bummed about having to rest up for class instead of staying out all night with your awesome friends.  (Or watching Netflix…)  Anyways, it’s safe to say the change in routine isn’t always a pleasure.  But I am excited to say I am welcoming it with open arms this year.

This is the first semester every class I am enrolled in is one I picked because of the value I believe it holds for me.  While some of them are still gen eds, they form some sort of basic knowledge I feel is necessary to my future success.

I don’t feel like I’m wasting any time this semester.  It’s the end of the first week and I am already a part of two on-campus ensembles, have applied for four different jobs, started on a semester long project for a class and got the go ahead for a personal project.  Sitting in my classes this week, I felt productive.  Like everything I was learning and being introduced to was important.

I think that’s where a lot of people get frustrated with school.  When you don’t feel engaged or interested, it all feels futile.  I admit I have felt that way myself.  As if everything I was learning was useless.  I’d love to tell anyone who feels this way to tough it out, but I don’t think everyone is supposed to.  Lots of people lead successful and happy lives without a college degree, and I think that’s great.  If I was smart enough to do that, I would drop out tomorrow and start my life!  But I know, personally, I need the foundation my education is providing me.

That’s why this week has been so wonderful.  I finally feel the education which took root a long time ago stretching out and beginning to grow.  I’m thinking more about what each course is helping me accomplish rather than what I am accomplishing in each course.  I think that’s when education becomes its most effective: when the payoff from studying is more than an A.  When you feel as though what you are learning is helping you achieve your goals.  That’s what education should be: growth and personal enrichment.

So suffer through your composition essay on gun control.  Endure photosynthesis.  Smile when you give that persuasive speech on good study habits.  One day it will click, and you will realize why you’ve been doing this for so long.

The true value of your education all depends on what you do with it.  So do something incredible.

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