Recently, there have been several stories questioning the worth of a college education. Are we paying too much for a future that consists of scanning the classifieds for low-skilled work in flannel jammies while spooning Ben and Jerry’s into our higher-educated bodies?
The conversation is both controversial and thought provoking. As a current student, however, I’m choosing to oppose this idea and stick to the status quo: 4 years jam-packed with cram sessions, information overload, and a splash of debauchery. I don’t care what the statistics claim. With the help of your professors, a few BOVs, and the best part about college – NO PARENTS! – you’ll learn countless life skills that money (or a scholarship) really can buy.
Time Management It’s the Wednesday before Halloween weekend. You have an open bar to attend on Thursday, a haunted booze cruise on Friday, and several house parties to hit up on Saturday. Not to mention, you have a 10-page paper due Monday at 9am (Seriously…what kind of teacher is that cruel?). Thanks to the previous 3 years of trial and error, you now know that Sunday will be a total wash (or spooning-a-bottle-of-Gatorade sorta day) so you gotta spend all of Wednesday night/Thursday morning locked away in a cubicle if you plan on drinking yourself into oblivion during the weekend. Learning how to balance class, studying, work, and your social needs can be tricky, but college allows you to perfect that practice in no time at all.
Financial Skills Bills, bills, bills. Cable, Electric, Gas, Water, Rent. Who knew it was possible to receive so many statements a month? As a liberal arts student majoring in Government/English, I have zero intention of taking any sort of accounting class (even if it is the “for Dummies” version)… ever. But, by living off-campus and dealing with 4 other roommates, varying costs, and payment deadlines, college has provided me with a free lesson on finances, credit, fiscal responsibility and budgeting (for clothes and beer).
Rejection Applying for internships and not getting a single one. Trying to get into the bar with your fake, only to get turned away (at least your didn’t end up in handcuffs). Spotting a hottie across the party, leading to a hookup, leading to him ignoring your texts the next day. Rejection is a daily occurrence in college and once we get over it (with the help of something gooey and chocolatey), it prepares us for the harsh world we will be entering in several years (or months). It also allows us to realize that every day is full of new opportunities and optimism is far from overrated.
Connections After wading through a packed crowd and heading to the keg to fill your solo cup with some Natty Light, you strike up a conversation with a random girl wearing that shirt from Cusp you totally almost bought. Eventually, a friendship blossoms. And, it turns out, her Mom knows Mr. So-and-So, who is the President of that company you are dying to nab a job at post-grad. The connections made in college are usually random and typically surprising. It’s a small world… and it becomes much smaller after attending university. Friends, professors and parents you meet during your four years can provide many opportunities you would otherwise never have encountered. And, let’s face it – while half of finding a job after school is hard work, the other half is all about who you know.
Strategy Last year, one of my roommates let a rat into the house (thank you, city living). I came home unaware that the furry little monster was crawling somewhere in my living room until I was messing around on FB and came across his status: “Loving my new roommate!” next to a picture of a fat, rabid rat. I absolutely panicked, locked myself in my room, and sat with my feet up on the chair while googling “How to Catch a Rat” for a solid half-hour. Once two of my other roommates got home, we grabbed our rodent-catching gear (rainboots and brooms), figured out where the disgusting little bugger was, and used all of our dining room furniture to block off a path to the door. Several shrieks later, we managed to get the guinea-pig sized rat out of our house. What’s the point of that story? (Besides to highlight the shanty life I live?) Two words: critical thinking. Thanks to college, I know how to think critically when both pressure and absolute terror consume my being.
Utilization of Social Media Nowadays, its crucial to be tech-savvy if you want to be employed; Twitter and Facebook are both used as important marketing tools in most job markets. Good thing you spent 8+ hours a week mastering the art of internet stalking and sarcasm in 140 characters or less.
Limits So much studying you can’t see straight? So many RBVs you can’t see straight? You have four years to test out your boundaries and figure out which lines are appropriate to cross and which lines are not. You’re able to “get it all out of your system” before entering the real world – where dancing on a bar and proceeding to fall off is not socially acceptable.
Let’s face it… unless you are the most mature 17 or 18-year old in the world, college is a 4 year prep period that not only gets you ready for a job, but for life itself. And, in my opinion, the lessons you learn while at school (even the ones that you want more than anything to forget) are 100% worth it.