It is once again the most dreaded time of the year for college students: finals week. Finals week is the time in the semester when everything is coming to an end and you can finally see the light at the end of the incredibly long tunnel. But, the best part of finals week is that it is almost summer vacation - keyword being almost. Summer vacation is so close; yet, the only thing in between you and the sunny days of relaxation are five homework assignments, four super-sized cups of coffee, three hours of sleep each night, two "oh man, what is this" moments while studying, and one mental breakdown. Finals week isn't impossible to make it through, it just seems that way because of the stress we are all under. In the midst of having stress levels higher than the hills of West Virginia, it' easy to take the education we are pursuing for granted. So, before this "wonderful" week begins, please, take a moment to put things into perspective and remember how blessed you are.
1. Education is a choice and privilege.
Flashback to the days of receiving countless college fliers each day in the mail. As the stack of fliers piled up on your desk, the opportunities that had now opened up to you seemed endless. Once you figured out what qualities you most wanted in your potential school and major, you narrowed down the possible schools until you found the one that fit you the best, filled out the application, and waited anxiously for the acceptance letter to arrive.
And now, fast-forward to May 2016, here you are living life as a college student who is pursuing a major that they are passionate about in the school that felt like a second home.
In the world today, it seems as though so many young people graduate high school and immediately start college in the fall because that is what is expected. But, in many places within this country and across the world, higher education is not so easily attained nor can people be as picky when deciding on what school to attend. Some people don't have the money to go to their ideal school. So, be grateful to be attending a school that you picked as your top choice, wherever that place may be.
2. Education is the key to knowledge.
When you begin college, you are forced to take a bunch of general education classes that seem like a waste of time and money. But, the GEC classes are far from a waste of time. These are the classes that give you the chance to learn a little bit about anything that you could think of from art history, political science, philosophy, psychology, and economics to name a few. These classes have the potential to transform you into a well-rounded person while also inspiring you to learn about other things that you may not have thought about prior to taking that class.
3. Education opens doors to opportunities.
Do you remember when you were a little kid and your parents always told you that you could be anything that you wanted to be? Well, you believed what they said. You used to say what you wanted to be when you grew up only to change your mind by the end of the week because you had thought of something better. The choices seemed endless for the younger you that was full of wonder. But, we have grown up and don't see the world through such rose-colored glasses anymore. Even though we don't dream as much as we used to, it doesn't mean that something is impossible. Yes, you may struggle in a class or two but taking that class increases the knowledge that you have. Furthermore, that knowledge may help to open a door that seemed as though it would remain closed. Any bit of knowledge you have will benefit you in the future in some way, shape, or form.
4. More education is something you will never regret having.
As I said before, the knowledge you have will benefit you in the future by opening doors of opportunity. You may hate the subject matter that you are learning from time to time, or all the time, but in the end, you will never regret having that extra knowledge.
For example, in my advising meeting a few weeks ago, I talked to my advisor about how nervous I was to take the higher math and science courses. The advice he gave me was completely true. He said that even though people hate taking the courses that force them to be challenged, once the class is over they feel accomplished. The accomplishment is what motivates them to continue pushing themselves and eventually succeed. Finding success at the end of a difficult journey is not only a huge achievement to be proud of but it is also something that all people will take never regret having done once it is over.
Even though it seems as though finals week is never going to end, it will but not without some hard-work and dedication to your studies. No one said that college would be easy. And, no one said that it wouldn't require hard-work because we all know differently. And so, when the stress of finals week is depressing you remember this: you are capable, you are intelligent, and you can do this. You can make it through this week because this is merely a stepping stone to you earning your degree.
Good luck to everyone studying for their final exams!