Lately my newsfeed has been flooded with many articles that have the same underlying theme; “I learn nothing in class, experiences are more valuable, classes are pointless, etc.” Now don’t get me wrong, there is a bit of merit to what most of these articles are saying. While college should primarily be about getting an education, it also is important to enjoy your lived experiences and do things impactful outside of the classroom. However, to me the issue stems from the sense of feeling that you can only do impactful things outside of the classroom, and that class is just a barrier to the rest of your college experience.
For the majority of high school, I dreaded school and going to class. Yet when I got to college, something shifted. This was because while in high school I was simply doing the motions and taking the requirements, in college I am able to choose my own path. I am studying topics that genuinely excite me. Now I’m by far the model student. There have been many times that I have dozed off, skipped class, or spent the entire 75 minutes online shopping. Yet I can say confidently that the majority of the time, I walk out of the classroom feeling as though I have truly learned something. When I read these articles from people who claim that they learned nothing in the classroom my reaction is always the same; that perhaps these people need to reevaluate what it is they are studying.
I know that there are many factors that go into picking a major. And yes, maybe somebody who is pre-med will absolutely hate their chemistry requirement, or a business major will hate calculus. My argument is not that you should major in something where you love every single one of your requirements or even the better part of them. My argument is that you should major in something that at the end of the day when you walk out of the classroom you can feel like you will be able to do something that truly drives you with your degree and all that you have learned. You should major in something where you can confidently say that the money you are spending on this education is not going to waste.
One argument of many of these articles is that college is far too expensive for what it is. This is a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with, and I am a strong advocate for reforming the system. However, this is even more of a reason to be grateful to be sitting in that exact seat in the classroom that you are. If you are a college student, that is a privilege that many do not get. Therefore, to go around bashing your education for being pointless is grossly offensive and quite frankly hurtful to those who would do just about anything to be in your shoes.
Clearly, this is all a vast oversimplification of the topic, but the overlying theme is that you are privileged to be sitting in that classroom. And with the leeway and freedom to choose your own career path, it’s silly to sit around blaming others for the fact that you learned more in a frat basement than in a classroom, or that you dropped out two weeks before graduation because you never went to class anyway. These are all conscious decisions that we make. Yes, the system is broken. However, since we are a part of it, we must acknowledge our privilege and make the best use out of it.