I think most people come to college expecting a wildly different experience than what they really get. It’s the sort of thing that’s hard to quantify or really even express – our ideas of college are shaped so profoundly by movies, older siblings, and the carefully curated stories told by our parents.
I think there’s really enough there to cover the rest of my blogs, and it would mostly be a written form of that expectations vs. reality scene from 500 Days of Summer. One specific way I’ve been more mindful of as graduation draws nearer is how you learn in college.
My parents told me from the get-go that the most important things you learn in college are outside of the classroom, which was pretty terrifying to hear from an ER nurse and a veterinarian.
So coming into college, my expectation was that, while I would learn a lot in classes, I’d just be constantly making friends and having profound moments of “do or do not, there is no try” each day on the way to class.
The truth is that learning takes place when you don’t even realize it’s happening – mom and dad were right, but not in the ways I would’ve thought. Things like personal responsibility, leadership, time management, and so on and so forth are all things you pick up when you’re doing clubs, when you’re applying for organizations, when you organize a day trip to Asheville with your friends. It’s easy to look at your senior seminar class and say, “oh, yeah, that’s where I learned about women’s resistance in World War Two”. It’s a lot harder to look back (as one is wont to do when one is near graduation – have I mentioned that yet?) and figure out where you learned how to stay on top of things or handle a tough situation.
One of the great things about Furman is that there are lots and lots of opportunities to learn lessons, painful and pleasurable, important and trivial. There’s plenty of clubs to let you prove yourself, plenty of classes that will challenge and test you, and plenty of different people to challenge your viewpoints.
But admittedly I have learned absolutely no karate since I got here. Win some, lose some.