“How to succeed in college” seems like quite the overambitious statement, and truly it is. To say that there is a how-to guide that will successfully propel any student through the physically and mentally demanding emotional rollercoaster that is college is nonsense. Every student will have a totally different experience through their college years and this makes a one-fits-all guide to college success non-applicable. What success means to each student is also very different. One student may gauge success as a 4.0 GPA while to another it may be being able to find ones independent self. With all of this said, I am here to offer a different perspective. This perspective is one of hindsight in regards to my own recent college experience. This is what I truly learned in college, the things that you can only learn from reflecting back upon something that has already past.
After going through 13 years of “read and regurgitate” style schooling, learning can become more of a chore than something to be excited about. You go through the motions of high school because you have to, not because you want to. School work and education itself can become something that is simply imposed upon you and the true essence of why you are there can become . This method of “leaning” can become deeply ingrained in you and it can carry over to your college years and even past that. In hindsight, learn because it is an exciting opportunity not because you feel obliged. I allowed myself to hold too tightly to this ingrained stance towards school work and this hindered what I was able to take away from college. I should of saw what a great opportunity it was and got excited about the wealth of knowledge that was available to me, but instead I looked assignments not as a leaning opportunities but annoyance or a burden. Learn because you want to, because knowledge is an empowering and beautiful thing. If you cant find that excitement in your schoolwork then you will never be able to find it in your professional career and it is time to re-loevaluate your choice of majors.
In hindsight; look between the grades. It is so easy to get caught up in requirements and grades that it is very easy to miss all of the learning opportunities in between. I learned more during the process of completing and in-between assignments than many of the assignments themselves taught me. Learning how to communicate more effectively, creating a schedule, networking, working effectively with others, interpreting requirements, learning new perspectives, etc., etc., are just a few things that you can learn a lot about when you are not solely focus on the “black and white” task at hand.
In hindsight; professors are a resource not simply “grade enforcement”. I did not take full advantage of the wealth of knowledge I had access to through my professors, and this may very well be my biggest regret in regards to my college career. I maintained a purely traditional teacher-student relationship with most of my professors and this was a mistake. Talking with professors is the closest you can get to the professional work world while still in college. Most of the professors in your area of study have been out and lived it, they have first hand experience in the field that you are interested in pursuing. A simple out of the classroom discussion with a professor could possibly teach you more than a weeks worth of their lectures. This also allows you to take the conversation deeper into the subjects you find interesting and would like to know more about even if it is not in-line with the information presented in that daily lecture. Creating a more personal relationship with my professors and being able to ask them any questions I had,regardless if it pertained to the subject matter or not, would of been able to prepare me for the professional world more than any test ever could.
It is well known that hindsight is 20/20. Even though it may be too late for me, hopefully some young student can learn from what I was too blind to see then but is ever so clear to me now.