Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Valentine's Day Bingo
February 24, 2024

Real lessons of college are not taught in the classrooms

At the risk of sounding overly cliché, four years of college can change everything. For better or for worse.
In high-school we are incessantly reassured that college will be the best four years of our lives.
And that upon graduation we will all have discovered exactly who we are and what we want to do.
Unfortunately, no one mentions that it is just as easy to forget who you are.
Thrust into a 16’x10’ hole with a stranger, facing the impending pressure to find someone to talk with besides your mom, there is not much time to decide how to conduct oneself.
Whether it be deciding if you should actually complete the summer reading for LSFY, to eat at the CC or Westy Café.
By the way, the quesadillas were way better than the current weights and ellipticals.
Or even to which open-party to attend. Yes underclassmen, those used to actually exist).
Every minuscule choice drastically alters one’s end result.
With each decision fresh opportunities are presented and bridges are burned.
This holds especially true at Augustana, where the tight-knit academic and social circles are hypersensitive to change.
One positive connection can create a world of bliss, and one negative connection can catalyze a downward spiral.
Personally, I have achieved things academically, athletically, and personally that were unfathomable by the starry-eyed eighteen year old version of myself that stumbled into the quad four years ago.
On the other hand, I have also made what I would consider some of the most damaging decisions of my young life.
There is no self-help book or guide that can prepare one for the successes and failures that will inevitably occur.
Even the most well-intentioned advice can lead someone completely astray.
Failing tests will teach you far more than acing them.
It is the reaction; the way that we mitigate the damage of our mistakes that teaches all college students to be adults.
Unfortunately, not everyone figures out how to clean-up in time.
Learning to help those you can, and letting go of those you can’t, is one of the more difficult parts of life, but it becomes a more regular occurrence with every year that passes.
All negativity aside, every student who graduates Augustana departs with a strong base of knowledge of some subject and a mostly coherent idea of how to market themselves to employers.
But, the important lessons are not learned in the classroom.
Rather they are taught on the field, in beer-soaked basements, res-hall bathrooms, and poorly decorated dorm rooms.
Don’t misconstrue my words, paying $48,000/year for the “college experience” is risible, although ignoring the merit (and demerit) of one’s own socialization as a 20 something is simply asinine.
I’m not sure if I have gained even the slightest inkling of half-baked wisdom in my four years here at Augustana.
However, I do know that through all the struggles of college life (self-imagined and otherwise) that the Class of 2016 will make a splash in this so-called “real world” we hear so much about.
After spending countless hours in the library, and nearly as many hung-over Sunday mornings at La Ranch, I can unequivocally say there is no replacement for the education and experiences of the Augie bubble.
As job prospects and loan payments loom, I am endlessly excited to see what the Augustana College Class of 2016 will do.
Watch out world.

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Real lessons of college are not taught in the classrooms