I graduated college a year ago. So, here’s a list of ten (non-academic) things I learned during those four years.
I was late to my classes the entire first week of college. I grossly underestimated the amount of time it would take me to Do Things, like driving or eating lunch or walking to class. I walked in about five minutes late to all my classes. Or at least showed up late enough to find everyone else already seated so they all stared at me as I came through the door and shuffled around to find the last empty seat.
But, I mean, nothing bad happened because of this. My teachers didn’t hate me for it or anything (at least as far as I knew).
So, it’s totally okay to be late sometimes – for example, this is my blog for the month of May. But as you might have noticed, it posted on June 2. And that’s okay. Nothing bad happened.
But you can’t be late all the time because there’s some teachers who literally won’t let you in the door if you’re late. Even if you were a minute late because you were doing something noble, like helping a lost freshman find their class or helping an old lady cross a street, you’re still not getting let in through that door.
So, you can’t be late all the time. When you’re out of college and you’re working a Real Adult Job, you definitely can’t be late for certain things – for example, if you’re working at a newspaper and a story is due to be published at 10 a.m. and you finish it at 10:30 a.m…. Give up. Just stop. Quit while you’re ahead because that story now isn’t running until the next day’s paper.
When I started college, I was an art major. I really liked drawing, and in high school, I was one of the best artists in my school. I went to a really small school.
So then in college, I was taking all these art classes and looking at my classmates’ drawings and realizing that almost all those people were so much better at art than I was. And that really brought me down.
When I was taking those art classes, I should have realized there are obviously varying degrees of talent and skill in everything. Just because you’re not the best at something doesn’t mean you’re not good at it. Just because every athlete isn’t as good as the few top athletes doesn’t mean they aren’t good at all. And similarly, just because my art skills weren’t as developed as my classmates doesn’t mean I wasn’t good at all.
After my first year of college, I switched my major from art to English because I was a lot better at writing than I was at art. And I haven’t drawn anything since then.
I do not regret the decision to change my major, but I do wish I wouldn’t have quit drawing. Maybe I wasn’t the best at it. And maybe I never would have been the best at it. But I didn’t have to quit.
I mean, this is pretty self-explanatory, right? Don’t take a class you wouldn’t normally take just because Susan from High School is taking it. You don’t need to be with Susan all the time. You can thrive without her. Susan will just end up dropping the class, anyway.
During my first semester of college, I took a class at 9:30 a.m. I was nearly late to the class every single day. I think one day I walked into the classroom at about 9:27 a.m. and that was the earliest I ever showed up all semester.
And so that was the first and only morning class I ever took.
I 100% do not comprehend science, and because of my school’s general education requirements, I was required to take two science classes to obtain my degree. I took one class about earth science and another about biology and I 100% didn’t learn or retain any single shred of information from those classes.
But for all the homework and quizzes and tests, I studied until my brains were fried. So I received an A in both classes, despite royally sucking at science.
I took this class about American literature and it was super easy for me because, well, I’m geeky and actually enjoy reading. So, unsurprisingly, I maintained an A in the class during the entire semester. During finals season, I was studying for this final with the same amount of crazy dedication that I gave to my science finals because I wanted to maintain my high grade. I ended up getting something like a 99% on the final, which was a test consisting of 50 multiple choice questions.
It was only after I took the final when I did some calculations and realized that I actually could have missed 40 questions on that final and I still would have maintained my A in the class.
What I mean is, do things that are different from what you would normally do. Talk to different people. Eat lunch outside. Raise your hand in class. Ask your teacher for advice. Join a club. Take a journalism class because you love writing even though you’re not quite sure what defines journalism and you’ve never heard of a slug and interviewing strangers makes you anxious because, you never know, maybe when you’ve been out of college for a year you’ll begin an internship at a newspaper company…
*looks into the camera like Jim Halpert from The Office*