What You Learn in College

Melissa Rosman, Editor-in-Chief

melissa's headshotWe come to college as freshmen with movie-like expectations. Whether those expectations are based off “Animal House” or “The Social Network,“ we come with the hopes of learning all we can about our areas of content, or attending the most epic of all parties. However, I’m sure we all know by now this isn’t the case. Of course you obtain some useful knowledge and you attend a few parties that could be classified as “epic,” but four years of college cannot completely prepare you to step foot into your field; only experience can do that. Whether you gain experience through on-campus activities or internships, it’s only when you finally enter the real world that you can apply the skills you’ve received in the last four years, and that’s when you will truly understand what you’ve worked for. (And you might also figure out that frat parties are seriously overrated.)

So you’re probably wondering: if we don’t become experts in our fields and we don’t party like they do in “Accepted,” then what’s the point? In my personal experience and in my best friends’ experiences, college is for life lessons. A large part of growing up isn’t just about learning biology or English literature, but about becoming an independent, responsible adult and learning who you are. College teaches you how to live without your guardian and, without someone to tell you to go to class everyday and clean your room. It teaches you how to balance a social life, activities, schoolwork and extra curriculars. It removes you from the naivety most of us possess in high school and opens our eyes to aspects of the world we may have never known about if we didn’t leave our small towns.

I came to college without knowing how to boil water. I’m leaving with a book of recipes I’ve created myself and the skills to balance writing a one-hundred-page unit plan, studying for a mass communications test, reading “Invisible Man” and putting out a State Times issue for publication, all in one week. I’m also leaving with the ability to actually clean and not just surface clean — did you know you have to actually clean your floors? You can’t just sweep away dust. I’m leaving knowing how to write a check, pay a cable bill and balance the amount of money I spend each week. These tasks may seem mundane but they are something you develop in college and will benefit you after in adulthood.

Aside from learning how to take care of ourselves, we learn how to take care of others. The meaning of true friendship is something you develop from living or growing with the same people, and it resonates with you for a lifetime. People picking you up at your worst, accepting you at your best and vice versa is a wonderful part of college, which I was so lucky to have experienced.

In the past four years the friendships that I have made will be with me for a lifetime. It’s hard to forget friends like mine. Especially friends who teach you lessons like: I will never win a Mario game on N64 if I “button crunch”, remember to spray “Pam” on baking sheets before you put pizza dough on them, never rule out the idea that birds could be in the room (just kidding, you’re crazy), when your finger gets stuck in a window don’t rip it out, there IS a curb between Taco Bell and Christopher’s and always carry gum on you so you don’t have to ask a stranger on the bus. As much as these “life lessons” have turned into inside jokes, my friends have taught me more than they know, specifically about life, unconditional love and the lyrics to “Defying Gravity”.

After four years of loyal friends, who forgive you over and over and love you unconditionally, even if you don’t do your dishes and you make constant mistakes, they become family. In college, I’ve learned that sometimes your family grows and becomes a group you’ve formed for yourself, if you’re lucky. Not only have my roommates and best guy friends become family to me, but also my methods class who has gotten me through all hours of assignments, and my State Times staff who has seen me at my most stressed and still loved me (even if the front page gets deleted), and all of my friends I’ve met along the way.

Thank you to everyone for making these four years the best years of my life and thank you to my “real” family and parents for granting me these amazing opportunities. I think I’m actually going to miss SUNY Oneonta more than the General Tsao’s pizza downtown.




1 Comment

  1. Well put! I loved this! I have enjoyed your writing. Good luck with the next phase of your life after graduation! And good luck with student teaching. 🙂 It’s a blast!

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