By Jen Fine, Regular ContributorOctober 14, 2015
image via hercampus.com
At twenty years old and a junior in college, I have come to the realization, that in the grand scheme of things, I am nothing more than a speck of dust on a computer screen. My lack of an official degree makes me as insignificant as the second space after a period in the paper that I didn’t even want to write in the first place. The truth is, we sit here day after day doing what we are told, taking the exams, learning about things that may never aid us in our master’s programs or in our careers after college. We do it because we have to.
We do it because we know it will somehow get us to the finish line that we’ve always been so eager to cross.
The last few days have proven to be challenging ones. If you’ve been in earshot of me, you’ve probably heard some version of, “why am I learning about GPS and satellite sensing when I want to be a school counselor” or “my legs are so tired from jumping through all these hoops!” It’s hard to actually wrap my brain around the fact that I spend four years of my life, endless hours of homework, and thousands of dollars on tuition taking classes that will check off requirements that don’t even seem necessary to begin with. I’ve come to the realization that I learn more the one-day a week I spend in the counseling office of a high school on campus, than I do sitting in lecture halls and libraries copying down notes about Sesame Street and its impact on cognitive development.
Apparently the only thing to do is accept the fact that this is never going to change. Although it would make all of our lives easier if we were able to take classes that directly related to our major instead of wasting our experience working to understand concepts that we may never refer to for the rest of our lives, it’s just not going to happen. The sooner we can move on and embrace the fact that we’re just learning things to keep in our arsenal for later and acquiring a wealth of knowledge that could potentially broaden our horizons, the sooner we will be happy.
The fact of the matter is that college isn’t solely about classroom learning.
The past few years of living on my own on campus have been the most eye opening ones. Not only have I learned just how capable I am, but I have also learned just how important these years of exploration truly are. I would’ve never expected when confirming my acceptance to the University of Wisconsin that I could change so much or grow what feels exponentially in such a short amount of time. I wear more hats than ever before; not only am I sister and daughter and friend and student, but I am colleague and adventurer and confidant and prospective employee. I’ve spent countless hours lying around the apartment after a night out with my best friends, recounting all of the events that took place the night before. I have gone shopping instead of going to class just to feel a little exhilarated for a change. I have made friends that will not only stand by my side until graduation, but until we can no longer remember our own names.
College may feel like the biggest waste of time when you really sit down and think about it, but that could not be farther from the truth.
So we have to take a few classes that make absolutely no impact on who we are and who we want to be, but when you factor in the countless hours we spend becoming a truer version of ourselves (which mostly happens outside of the classroom, despite the hoops we encounter along the way) it’s important to remember how lucky we are to even get the opportunity to jump through them, don’t you think?
Do you ever feel like you're jumping through hoops in college for no reason? Why do you do it? What else have you learned? Tell us below!
Jen is currently a junior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enjoys all things sarcastic, obsessing over the New York Rangers, and is a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee fanatic. When she’s not singing in the shower, writing her feelings, or dishing out life advice to her friends, you can catch her lying around watching One Tree Hill for the third time. Feel free to check out her personal blog at jenfine.wordpress.com for more!
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