What Really Matters In College
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What Really Matters In College

What Really Matters In College

College is full of responsibilities and difficult decisions, varying from things like schoolwork, internships and jobs, extracurriculars, social life, romantic relationships, alone time, family, exercise, health, and even more. Often times students will pick between a few of the areas above to focus on much more than others. The stereotypes from the movies are real; nerds, jocks, gamers, partiers, dreamers, mama’s boys and others are sometimes overwhelmingly accurate.

College students are expected to pick a life path at 18 years old that goes much further than what you major in. We get into a rhythm and sometimes become so lost in one or two of the areas we have chosen that it goes beyond graduation day. This important, confusing and polarizing topic has led me to ask, “What in the world are we actually supposed to do? What really matters?"

The way I look at this is, "What am I going to remember five years from now? Ten years from now? Twenty five years from now? Which decisions and actions that I make now will have a real impact on my life? Should I put my nose in a book and look up at graduation in an effort to get a good job? Isn’t that what college is all about -- getting a good job after school? Or should I focus on having fun and making memories now when I have the freedom and the friends around?" I think this plays a lot into personality, but I think there has to be some rationale behind it as well.

Everyone is faced with this task of predicting the future to see what they should be doing now. Is it better to pick up your things and just go to a game 7 playoff hockey game the night before a big final? Or should you stay in and make sure you are as prepared for that final as possible? Which one will be the lasting memory? Will you remember the grade you got on the test or even in the class? When your four years go by, will you regret not spending more time exploring the city you are in or taking advantage of having your friends right beside you?

My college experience has taught me that this unresolved issue is one of the most difficult and most important that we have to answer. When you have enough work to keep the entire student body busy, but an opportunity arises that could be a lot of fun, what do you choose? The questions that we face on a daily basis can be boiled down to that simple question: Can I afford to have fun or not? I have talked to recent college graduates, seasoned professionals, and retirees with all of them saying that they don’t remember their college GPA, which classes they did well in, or which finals they aced... Then what are we doing? Is all of this a necessary evil to get a good job and be able to forget the good grades?

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, being successful and feeling fulfilled in my eyes is being happy. Happiness is what we are all trying to find, whether it’s through an item or a job or a hobby or a person. How do we balance our school work with happiness, and what do we forgo now in order to be happier later? Don’t get me wrong, we all decided to go to college for a reason, and it certainly wasn’t to put zero effort into our assignments and walk out with a degree we barely qualified for. The ends of the two different spectrums are very far apart where some students live at bars and other students won’t step into a bar their entire four years.

Although these might be the most common opposites, some people spend too much time working at a job in college, and other people may find fun in different ways than going to bars. In the midst of all of the things that we have to think about and deem important through our time in college, we are forced to find a personal resolution to this problem. To answer the questions posed above, there has to be a happy medium between the necessary evils and fun. Don’t spend your college years being stressed beyond belief or putting off school so much that you walk away thousands of dollars poorer with not much to show for it. Remember the reasons you went to school and that although grades don’t truly matter as much as we would like to think, what we learn and the experiences we have make a great difference later. Remember to have fun, whether that’s partying or going to a baseball game or exploring the city you are in. These are actions you will remember, so make sure you are making memories and sharing them with the right people.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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