5 Valuable Lessons I Learned In College That Weren’t Necessarily Part Of The Curriculum

5 Valuable Lessons I Learned In College That Weren’t Necessarily Part Of The Curriculum

Whether a success or a pitfall in your journey, each experience comes with a life lesson.

Through various trials and tribulations during our college years, we learn who we are and what we are truly capable of. I believe in living life with no regrets, and making the best of each experience given to me.

College was no exception; I lived, I learned, I thrived and (sometimes) I cried. Now that I've graduated, I've had time to reflect on the life lessons that the past 4 years have given me, most of which were not taught from a textbook.

1. Making Connections is Crucial

We’ve all heard the phrase "it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know." Throughout college, and especially since I’ve graduated, I’ve found 100% truth in this statement.

Whether your connections be with your professors, the different departments on campus, friends, peers or employers; MAKE THEM.

It’s important to put yourself out there in order to make yourself known. You never know when you will need a letter of recommendation or help finding a job later down the road. The job force is intense and competitive, and every connection you can make will benefit you in the long run.

2. Always be Unapologetic

College is a time of self-exploration, and every college experience is different than the next. Whether you go away to college, commute to classes, are an Engineering or an English student, you should never apologize for the way you are choosing to spend your treasured college years.

Don’t feel sorry if you choose to stay home on a Friday night and binge-watch your favorite Netflix series, while your friends are going out bar hopping.

Don’t feel sorry if you ace an exam, and your friend doesn’t do as well.

Be unapologetic in everything you do, and never apologize for your success. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for the way you are choosing to live.

3. Embrace the Unexpected

College is a time to try new things, make new friends, and discover who you are and what you truly want out of life. While sometimes it’s easier to stick to old habits, it’s important to step outside of your comfort zone in order to truly embrace what college has to offer.

Join a club, hang out with that guy you met in English class, work a campus job, study abroad or learn a new language. Take advantage of all the things your campus has to offer, even if you think you may not like the outcome.

Studying abroad my junior year of college was the best decision I ever made for myself. Not only did I get to live in Paris for an entire month, I made lifelong friendships and discovered an independence I wasn’t even sure I had. I stepped outside of my comfort zone in order to embrace this experience, and it’s something I can cherish for the rest of my life.

4. The Importance of Quality vs. Quantity

Sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in the logistics of things, or to compare ourselves to those around us. Maybe you don’t have as many friends on campus as your roommate does that’s okay.

I stayed home for college and commuted each day for classes. Therefore, I spent less time on campus than those who went away to school. I made many acquaintances throughout my 4 years, sure, but only a handful of true friends that I stay in touch with.

The friendships I made in college are the true epitome of “quality vs quantity.” They say that you make the best friendships in your college years, and that’s something that couldn’t be taught from a textbook.

It’s not about the number of friends you have or how many pages/words you have in your essay. It’s about the quality of the things that matter most to you, and how it adds to the character of who you are, or who you want to become.

5. You Live & You Learn

Aside from the obvious reason for attending college (to get a top-notch education, of course), it is an irreplaceable time for self-exploration. It’s a time where we are forced to make real-life decisions about ourselves and about our futures.

It’s also a time to make mistakes like skipping classes, going out with friends instead of studying, forgetting to do the readings for class or disagreeing with a professor.

We’ve all done things that maybe we aren’t so proud of, but guess what? We live and we learn.

Sometimes, I wonder how I graduated college with a 3.7 GPA when I skipped enough classes to be kicked out by my professors, or how I was able to focus on class at all while I was working two jobs in my second year.

Whether a success or a pitfall in your journey, each comes with a life lesson. The mistakes we make teach us and prepare us for what lies ahead.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Professors change students' outlook on learning

Which professor you get DOES matter.

The professor makes the class.

This statement could not be more true, in my opinion. Students can take courses on the most riveting topics, but not learn or understand due to a bad professor. Luckily, most of the professors I have encountered have been engaging and have opened my mind to learning new things.

I am currently studying journalism, which is a subject I already love. However, my professor Dr. B is so incredibly passionate about the field. Every class she shares stories and anecdotes about her time as a journalist for a major Canadian newspaper, and her enthusiasm is contagious. As a student journalist, it is exciting to hear stories from someone who has had vast experience in the field. Her excitement inspires me to be just as passionate about my future career.

I am also studying political science, and I am enrolled in the African Politics course. Prior to the class, I had no knowledge of African Politics. I took the course because I wanted to learn a new subject, and I knew that Dr. Ziemke would have endless experiences to share. Because I had previously taken her for International Relations, I knew that she had worked in Africa as a volunteer on the Peace Corps, and she had a deep connection to Africa. Her passion, humor, and stories are what make a three-hour long class bearable.

Passionate professors create passionate students who are prepared and excited to improve their fields of study. These professors shape and mold students, give students encouragement and support, challenge students, and help students reach their potential. Professors have so much power to influence the future through their students.

It is important to understand how much a professor can truly affect how invested students are in a topic. When students have subpar professors, they tune out and do what they need to do in order to pass. When presented with a passionate, engaging professor, students take a deeper interest in the material. They put forth more effort because they understand the value of the topic being studied and want to tackle any issues in that field.

I truly believe that professors have the power to make or break a class.

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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I Changed My Major, And So Can You

​One of the hardest parts of college is choosing what you want to get out of college.

One of the hardest parts of college is choosing what you want to get out of college. There’s a lot to think about when you choose where you want to go. Do you want a big or small school, in or out of state, weather, the full college experience, etc.

A decision that is left to be made once you’ve already committed to a school is what you’re going to do after graduation. Your major often reflects this decision. Some know exactly what they want to do and others take a little more time to figure it out.

(AKA me)

I did running start in high school and graduated with my associate’s. Then I came to WSU to pursue a degree in public relations. I was sure working in PR for a non-profit was what I wanted to do but turns out, it’s not.

I am now pursuing a double major in Speech and Hearing Sciences and I plan to be a speech therapist after school. My plans changed quite a bit in the two years I was at WSU.

For anyone else who’s still thinking about what you want your major to be or maybe changing your major, here’s some advice from my experience with trying to figure out my life all at once.

1. Cut yourself some slack

It’s okay to change your mind or not know what you want to do yet. Don’t let people fool you, most of us don’t have it all figured out.

2. Talk to people in the careers you’re interested in

Going out and talking to people in the field you’re interested in is more helpful than talking to an advisor or your professor. When I was thinking about speech therapy, the advisors at WSU didn't know much about it and I learned more from talking to real speech therapists.

3. Take the baby steps

It’s overwhelming if you need to change your major or you start thinking too far into the future. It’s important to slow down and think about what needs to be done now and worrying about the rest when it’s time. When I decided to double major I started thinking about how I would need to apply for more loans, get an apartment, take the GRE but the only thing I needed to do at the time was email my advisor. I could figure out the rest later.

4. What’s important to you?

I’ve always wanted to work with kids and have a job that helps people. It’s also important for me to have a job that is flexible for when I have a family. After talking to family friends and looking into speech therapy, it sounded like the perfect career to me. I could work in the school district and have the same breaks as my future kids.

5. Will you be able to find a job?

Most people go to college to get a job. This is something to consider when choosing a major because some career fields are more competitive than others. If I'm going to pay for graduate school, I want to be able to find a job right away. Speech pathology is a growing field and I shouldn't have a problem finding a job.

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