Picture this: you are sitting in geometry class on a beautiful day half-listening to your teacher go on and on about logarithms, factorial equations and something about a quadratic formula. You ask yourself (or on a bad day, maybe you ask your teacher), 'when will I ever use this?!'. Happens a lot, right?
(Side-note: If you actually find yourself considering a dual with your teacher over the significance of a math lesson to the bright light which is your future, we strongly suggest you reconsider.)
Once you become a college student, it happens a lot less but only after you successfully complete your basic courses (otherwise known as refresher courses) required by most institutions today. Once that is done, you will get into your professional requirement courses which include lessons specific to your chosen major. Now that your faith in education has been restored and you no longer have to worry about a future full of trigonometric functions (you're welcome), let us move to a more serious topic.
College seems to take a tough-love type of approach when providing students with a few lessons in particular - lessons you actually will use again and again everyday for the rest of your life. Lessons that will undoubtedly prepare you to face virtually any situation in life with a strong confidence in your ability to make the right decisions.
The point: Those "few lessons in particular" are found in subtle moments of impact in life. Through those moments, we finally find an answer for - wait for it - when you will actually use this!
Below you will find a list of valuable life lessons that college students are inadvertently granted access to simply by working their way through those four years. Most students approach this new phase of life head on with no foreshadowing list of the truly significant moments that lie in wait of them. Some only realize the profound impact of what they really learned in college after months or even years of being out of college and in the real world. Others fail to recognize the value in those lessons at all.
The purpose of this list is to provide you with a sense of expectation. Consider printing it out or jotting down key points to keep somewhere as a reminder. By approaching the next four years of your life already aware of the tremendous personal growth you are soon to experience, you will witness first hand some of the moments which will have the most impact on the decisions you make for the rest of your life. Most importantly, you will understand just how profound each lesson truly is as it happens or shortly thereafter, and appreciate it more.
During college, you will learn:
· Personal Determination - finding your grit! College will test you (literally and figuratively). It will constantly demand things of you that you have absolutely no desire to give. There will be weeks that you have an important assignment due in every class and there will be no room for laziness or excuses. It will push you to your limits but at your limit is where you find the grit within you that will get you through almost any demand life will make of you. Some would argue in favor of shortcuts and question why we would choose to not take advantage of a more time-effective way to get things done even if it means cutting a few corners. Shortcuts are not a crime, and if a time clock is of the utmost importance a shortcut is quite convenient- but I encourage you first to find someone who has succeeded in life and ask them how they did it. Their answer will almost always be "hard work". In any challenge, strong willpower and hard work can get you through it.
· Organizational Skills - it sounds anything less than amusing, but it very well may be the most important skill a college student can master. Assignments, papers, readings, exams and projects combined with maintaining a social life and a (somewhat) healthy living environment can overwhelm even the calmest of people. Over time, the feeling of being overwhelmed becomes familiar to most college students and acquiring even the most basic organizational skills can help to alleviate that burden tremendously. The ability to prioritize will also become second nature as your organizational skills evolve.
· Communication - people tend to underestimate the power of communication. Learning to deliver your thoughts, feelings and ideas to another person or group in an articulate manner is essential to the success of both your personal and professional relationships. As you work with other groups of students to accomplish a class project or meet with an advisor to discuss your academic status, you will learn to communicate in a way that is comfortable for you to optimize the results of those interactions in your favor. (helpful hint: professors and other professionals you may work with in college can be your best friend when it comes to getting your foot in the door at your dream job. Remember, they have already been in your shoes and succeeded. They are usually eager to extend their connections to the students they believe deserve it.)
· The Value of Human Relationships - in college, you are working toward a degree which will support you as an individual in your chosen career field. Getting there, however, often involves a great deal of collaboration, trust, and group work in a diverse environment of conflicting opinions and perceptions. Learning to appreciate the opinions of others (whether you agree with them or not) and understanding the value of that is an important step to success in the career and relationships you will have in the future.
· The Reality of the Real World (and how crazy you were for wishing it would get here faster) - once college is over, the real world will be waiting. There will be bills to pay, apartments to rent, and assignments piling up on your desk waiting for no one but you to tackle. Your first taste of the real world will prove to be extremely gratifying but with it will come a tremendous amount of responsibility. Getting there is an accomplishment, but try not to take the time you spend getting there for granted. Moral of the story - you can choose to be an educator or maybe even a writer, but regardless of what you choose, you have to actually do it when college is over. Try not to rush the next few years - you have the rest of your life to be in the real world. (But in the interest of student loans, try to make it out in four or five!)
During the time you spend away at college, the majority of your experiences, good and bad, will serve as a positive influence on your personal growth. The lessons you will learn are not limited to the five listed above, but they are certainly some of the ones you will appreciate most. One day, you will complete one of the most overwhelming assignments of your college career on a subject completely outside of your chosen major. You may ask yourself, 'when will I ever use this?!', or you may push through it and realize afterwards you just found your grit!