In an interview with The New Yorker published in their December 19 and 26, 2016 issue, Viola Davis compared her days as a student to cough syrup. She described them as "unpleasant but useful." I have heard college described as many things, but unpleasant and useful was never one.
The first time I read this article, I was in my "I really hate college" mood. I had four papers to write, two midterms to study for, three books to read and a presentation to prepare. Yet, sitting on my grimy couch that had recently accumulated yet another stain—this time from my dog who decided to slowly naw away at the piece of General Tso's tofu I gave him a fews nights back, leaving an orangey-red splatter across the already dirty upholstery—I was able to find comfort in knowing that the work I was doing and constant stress I felt—however unpleasant it was—was useful and would (hopefully) pay off. Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up due dates and future plans, and I often forget what it is that I am in school for. Am I here because job prospects are slim to none with out a bachelor's degree nowadays? Am I here to prepare for graduate school? Am I here to figure out who am? Am I here because my parents taught me that going to college is the "right" thing to do?
In all honesty, I don't know if there is just one reason. Yes, I am here because my parents taught me that it is the "right" thing to do, that I would have a better chance at having a successful career if I got my college degree and that this would subsequently lead to a higher quality of life. But I am also here because I love to learn. I enjoy studying and making good grades. I enjoy the way my professors' eyes light up when I ask a question that they weren't expecting or when I answer a question they assumed no one knew the answer to.
But there are also days that I don't like being in college. I don't enjoy reading 500-page books about strange philosophical theories. I don't like spending hours writing essays for a humanities class that I could care less about. I don't like stressing about upcoming exams. I don't like trying to communicate with professors that don't show up to their office hours or answer emails. Most of all, I don't like wondering if all this time, stress and money to get a college degree is actually worth it. And this is where Viola Davis comes back into the picture.
Just three years after Davis graduated from college in 1993, she earned her first Tony Award nomination; and just five years later she has been nominated again and won. Although I am sure this is due to a combination of education, hard work, talent and the fact that Viola Davis is a queen, it goes to show that education can make all the difference. In fact, during her interview with The New Yorker, Davis said it was beneficial for her to go to college because she was able to learn how to conduct herself as an actress.
As a college student, it is inspiring to read about a successful woman who not only received a college degree but regards it as useful. (If you don't know who Viola Davis is, I suggest you get your life together and look her up ASAP. As of February 26, 2017, she is the only African-American actress who has won a Tony, an Emmy, and an Oscar.) College is a time of growth on many levels. It can be anywhere from the best years of a person's life or the worst years of a person's life. Wherever you fall somewhere in that spectrum, just try to remember Viola Davis's analogy when you're having a rough go.