There is no denying the fact that college is super expensive.
Most of its value comes from the promise of a better, higher paying job when you graduate. Unfortunately for many, that’s not what happens. College can’t really guarantee you a job any more than graduating from high school guarantees you a place at a college. There is no way to guarantee what life has in store for you.
College is still valuable, though. The classes, the friends, the coming of age that comes with growing up and being an adult… there’s plenty you can learn that will directly impact your future after college.
But while I learned tons from class, looking back I am surprised by how much I learned by accident. And those accidental lessons turned out to be far more valuable than what I learned from the syllabus.
Scheduling and Prioritizing My Time
There was a point in college when I was a Resident Advisor for a dorm, taking a full load of courses, putting on a 3 hour weekly radio show, and playing club rugby. Needless to say, I was a little busy! At a time when many people slept in until 11AM and wandered around looking for food, I had a color coded date book that scheduled out all of my meetings, dates, commitments, and study sessions.
Looking back, I’m so glad I learned this kind of scheduling and time committment because it helped me learn how to prioritize what’s going on in my life and make room for everything I want to do. As an adult, I can now see how to put together my weekly schedule to cook, sleep, eat, and socialize just enough without feeling too harried too many weeks in a row.
Socializing and Meeting New People
I’m also glad I was involved in so many activities and took so many classes outside my comfort zone (Telecommunications as an English major, anyone?). This helped me develop a wide base of conversational interests so that I felt comfortable making small talk with people in each new job I took and when I meet people out in town. Now, I’m probably still an introvert, but barring an occasional week of shyness, these experiences in college helped me know how to talk to people when I want to.
Nowadays, I feel like I have a good grasp on how to start a conversation and maintain it if I run into someone at the grocery store or meet a new person at a party. I also feel like I have a better idea of where other people are coming from since I met and befriended so many different kinds of people in college.
Did you learn any surprising things from college by accident? Do you think it’s by accident, or is this just how the educational process works?