Yeah, I know… what?! I am a big fan of college for a number of reasons, but if you think you’re going to love every minute of college, you are sorely mistaken. Interwoven into the threads of the college experience are all these pesky things called “tests” and “readings” and “syllabus”. College also has this concept of opposing viewpoints that just really gets in the way of opinions and mindsets you didn’t even know you had… College sucks! Well, really it is just challenging. Let’s list some of those challenges, shall we?
- College threatens to “change you”! It’s true, we all go to college with our own proclivities and preconceived ideas; college will challenge the way you think about life in general. And it OUGHT to. The challenge for you isn’t the challenge that college provides, rather the challenge is to change on your terms, not theirs. Learning new methods of thinking and reasoning is uncomfortable (to put it mildly), but learning how to think critically is truly the challenge- just because someone says something doesn’t make it true, no matter how many letters are after their name, but there IS truth- so we’ve got to find it!
- College is expensive! Many people who choose to go to college haven’t actually prepared to go financially,t hey just do. Why? Because it is the expectation of our society. Is this right? Wrong? I don’t know. It just is. In order to fund this expectation many people will use debt to “invest in themselves”. College costs you something, usually a lot, but the investment is TWO fold. The first investment is financial; it is an investment in a degree that you will hang on your wall. The question to ask here is, what is the degree worth? This is asking, what is my return on investment, the ROI. You can find this on Career Builder.com, simply multiply the average annual earnings for your area in your field by the years you plan to work (adjust for inflation). The second investment really is in yourself, and it is unseen in many ways. College is a way to sharpen your brain, it provides skill sets that are deeper than learning Office 07 and Dreamweaver. It isn’t about what you learn, but how you learn. This is something that can be achieved outside of college, but is most easily learned through the brutal structure of the college environment.
- College is hard work! Yeah I know it blows, but you will actually have to read, and write and discuss if you want to make it through college in one piece. This means that even in preparation for college you have to work hard, it won’t change once you’re in college, and here’s a newsflash, the work only gets harder after college. College will help you to read faster, understand more and more quickly, write more efficiently, and hopefully, if you learned from challenge #1, you will learn to think for yourself.
- College can get you lifelong friends! Or you can lose lifelong friends. Truly college is the great divider of friendships; hopes and dreams are made and broken on the steps of the college campus. Making friends in one area may be an eye opening experience, you may lose friends that you had for many years in order to open new doors. I would encourage you, don’t forget your roots, “from whence you came.”
- Faith is lost. Something like 75% of those with some element of faith who go into college come out with little to none. College, knowledge in general, has a way of puffing people up. I have been accused of being too heady, talking down to people, assuming I know more than others… this is an unfortunate consequence of a college education. Knowledge puffs up, and we must remain humble.
Just a few little challenges of college. My hope is that you will actually find that unique being inside you, the one that only you can be. You were created that way, it is time to embrace that, not run from it. Don’t treat college as a petri dish of social experimenting, but rather a challenging of your own mind and preconceived