Student Voice


November 29, 2023




Columnist leaving college, giving advice

May 4, 2007

So, here we are, the last week of the semester.

As some students are getting ready to relax for the summer before coming back next year, others are working on getting the wrinkles out of their robe for graduation.

As for me, I find myself pondering this question: What did I really learn in college?

Sure, I learned about journalism, obviously because it is my major, but aside from academia, what did I gain from this experience? How am I different now than I was at the age of 18 when I stepped onto the University of Minnesota campus in the fall of 2003 thinking that I could take on the world?

The answer is a complex one, nearly impossible to sum up in just one column but I will give it a try.

Honestly, I am sure a lot of this comes with simply growing up, but there are numerous lessons that gave me a good jolt along the way so I do have some advice to pass on to those of you who will still be continuing on with your education in the following years.

First, stalling never works. Believe me, I have tried this so many times. The last time was on Sunday as I was faced with writing a paper that I had no desire to even think about.

My procrastinating techniques were pretty solid for the most part. I could come up with a hundred things to do instead of sitting down to write that paper.

But, when I was finally forced to get the assignment done, it was not as bad as I thought.

This point actually leads me to my next one. The only reason I was forced to work on that paper was because my fiancé told me a truth about myself that I did not want to hear.

As I was becoming completely overwhelmed about all that I had to do with finals, he came into my office, shut the door and said, "Don't you realize that every time you have to do something you really don't want to, you drag it out and make it worse?"

When he said this to me, I knew he was right. This is my second point -- do not get mad when faults are pointed out about you.

For the most part, the person doing that is simply trying to help you see how you could make something easier.

No one is perfect and is it really the end of the world if someone who cares about you wants to let you know about a habit you have that is not so great? I would rather be told instead of continuing on with that behavior.

Do not be too proud to admit that you make mistakes. If you realize it, identify the problem and then work to change it, there is no longer an issue. In speaking of no longer having issues with things, my third point is a very simple one: laugh at yourself.

This is so essential. I cannot even begin to count all the things I have done that were so idiotic.

Seriously, from being pulled over for refusing to put my license plate tabs on in the winter, to thinking I could dye my own hair and turning it bright orange, to the highlight of good decisions — thinking I could sneak out of a lecture hall of over 200 people and falling down about thirty stairs in front of them all. Sheer brilliance.

But, despite these moments, I did learn a lot about myself in these four years.

Life is what you make it, the best-laid plans never work, you do know when you meet the person you are supposed to be with, cars will break, you never know about a person until you take the time to talk to them and nothing tastes better after a late-night out than a McDonald's cheeseburger.

So, for all the graduates, good luck and congratulations. For those who will be back next fall, take the time to find out who you really are.