To The Rising College Student, Get Your Money's Worth

To The Rising College Student, Get Your Money's Worth

It's more than your GPA, trust me.

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As I enter my last semester in college, I have had much time for introspection in terms of what I have accomplished over the past three and a half years. The grades, the friends, the good times and the bad. All of these things culminate a college student's experience, and mine is no different. If I could go back, however, there's one thing I would tell myself.

The value of college is not found in the grades.

With this perspective, very few people get their money's worth in college because they overvalue how much their grades mean. Don't get me wrong – if you're going to med school or law school, your grades probably matter a lot. That's not the point. The point is that people have a distorted mentality about what college is supposed to be. The mental approach to college is centered around obtaining a degree, not a set of life skills that will grant you employment. Degrees do not translate to competency.

This is why college is incredibly overrated, and the me of four years ago would laugh at those words coming from myself, but it's true. It's rare that people get value from their education that translates to skills, alarmingly more so with technical degrees like engineering. Ask anyone who has had an internship and they will tell you the same thing.

This is why college bothers me. People come in with a "play into the machine" mindset that their parents and friends program them into, instead of learning to do their own thing and come to understand what it is they are great at and simultaneously love to do. Much of what I have learned in college has not come from the classroom, but through my internal and external involvement with the university, especially in the last year and a half in my college experience.

I came to the realization that my degree doesn't mean shit.

The skills and connections I make while obtaining my degree because I am placed in a prime position to network matters. The work I will be doing out of college and the reason I am equipped to do so was due to my extroversion and curiosity out of the classroom, not the work I put into it.

This is not to knock the university that I attend, because I am absolutely pleased with the experiences that I've had. I consider myself blessed to have role models in my professors over the past few years who have guided me down my path. However, most people put too much faith in their classes to teach them things that the classes are not designed to do because college is currently flawed in this aspect.

There is too much regurgitation and not enough application.

Getting your money's worth in college isn't about taking your 15 hours a semester. It's how you spend every waking hour trying to improve yourself and find out what it is that makes you happy, then finding a way to monetize that. Don't waste your time with courses and degrees that lead you to nowhere but a $100,000+ piece of paper to your name.

Invest in yourself before anything, because when the world comes down off its economic high horse in a few years, you'll be thankful you have more than paper to speak for your capabilities.

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

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To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.

Sincerely,

The nursing student with just one year left.

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College Students Are The Most Irresponsible People I've Ever Met, Not Sorry

Please, grow up!

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As a junior in college, I can honestly say that sometimes I feel so unlike my peers. Majority of the people I have encountered at college do not have a single clue what responsibility is and it is honestly embarrassing and concerning.

Growing up, I was always the responsible one and it translated to my college life. I work around 30 hours a week outside of school to pay for my rent, food, utilities, car, gas, you name it. A lot of the time, I have to say no to going out on the weekends because I am working or have too much studying to catch up on. I applied for 70+ summer internships and secured a really good one. I save and budget so I always have a certain amount of money in my savings account at all times and can continue to add more.

The amount of people I meet at school with no job, no responsibilities and no sense of the real world is pathetic.

I can't tell you how many times I have had to stay over my shift at work because my relief, always a college student, decided not to show up. I watch people spend hundreds of dollars at bars while their parents pay for their $1,000 rent. I see the number of times these people decide not to show up to class because they are either hung over or too lazy. Like honestly, what the hell?

Not only do these irresponsible people affect my life, but they are also the people I will have to rely on in the working world someday and that terrifies me. If you can't even get yourself to a 10 a.m. class, how can I rely on you to get a multi-million dollar advertisement campaign pitch to me on time? I like going out and having fun just as much as the next girl, but there is a time and a place to do it.

I honestly don't know how about 50% of the people I attend school with are even here. It's a miracle that any of them obtain the grades to even be enrolled in a university. And since they clearly can, why do they not bother to take responsibility in other aspects of their lives? I get that college is the last chance to act like a kid, but when your idiotic decisions and irresponsibility affect others, you need to reevaluate yourself. You should want to be the best that you can be so you can gain the most that life has to offer.

Congrats, your parents bought you a brand new car and fund your weekend drinking binges. You got an A on that test you cheated on but don't actually know any of the material you will probably need down the line. I can't wait to be your boss someday and can fire you at my will because I understand the work that goes in to being a responsible human being. Welcome to the real world.

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