Wednesday, December 5
There are some freshmen who step on to campus for the first time and they already know what they will do when they graduate. They have a five, ten, and twenty-year plan already formulated. Actually, they may have already put a down payment on a retirement home in sunny southwest Florida.
To call them detail oriented would be an understatement. They’ve known what they want to do for a long time now. And while that’s not a bad thing, it’s not true for you. When many others had no problem standing up and reporting on what they wanted to do on Career Day, you were not so sure. In fact, when all the college brochures started showing up in your mail, you weren’t yet convinced college was even in your future.
None of this is the end of the world. Some people were so focused on a career that they looked for internship possibilities while they were in preschool. Meanwhile, you were open to the many possibilities ahead. If the future represents a myriad of different possibilities, then you would like to explore what they all have to offer.
Does this mean college is not for you? Quite the contrary! 1
College is More than a Classroom
Yes, if you attend a college, you will be expected to show up when it’s time for class. (Unless, of course, you’re a D-1 athlete planning to make the jump early to professional sports, but we digress.) Every other aspect of college will not distract from the fact that you’re here to be educated for your future.
But education happens in so many more places than a classroom.
The fact is that some of your needs in these formative years mirror where you were before you started kindergarten. Ask any preschool teacher and they will tell you children need to learn social skills as much as they need to learn their ABC’s. Are there technical skills you need to learn? Of course, but good luck finding a job anywhere if you don’t know how to play well with others.
The community living, the sharing of meals together, involvement in campus clubs, and enjoying recreational opportunities are all a part of the college experience. What you will gain from your time in the classroom is foundational. But on-the-job training exists because so many companies have a particular way of doing things.
College is More than a Degree
Given that so much of the college experience happens outside of the classroom, it follows that college is more than a degree. Upon graduation, you will have a piece of paper declaring you are qualified in your field of study. But your diploma represents so much more than technical proficiency.
The college experience is not for those who lack even one iota of self-motivation. While parents and teachers had conferences to ensure you were on pace in high school, college is where independence takes place. Do you want to study or do you want to play games? There will be time for both, but it will be up to you to learn the balance. Receiving your degree means you have figured it out.
This is part of the value of a college education. Even after the recession of 2008, this value was affirmed. In a 2009 poll conducted by Pew Research Center, 84% of those with degrees maintained college was a good investment. Respondents were also asked to describe the main purpose of college. “Forty-seven percent said ‘to teach knowledge and skills that can be used in the workplace,’ 39 percent said ‘to help an individual grow personally and intellectually,’ and 12 percent said ‘both equally.'” 2
College is an Opportunity
Ultimately, college is an opportunity to discover who you are and what you want to do with your life. Even if you change your mind, the education is as much about how you learn as it is what you learn. Taking advantage of the many opportunities which happen outside the classroom will be key to obtaining lifelong friendships and rich experiences. The skills gained cannot be contained in a diploma.
Grace College understands the breadth and depth of value a college experience will bring. This is why we have a first-year experience to ensure freshmen adapt to college life. Knowing how far and wide God will take our students in this world, we also offer a spiritual emphasis that is life-changing.
Not sure what you’re doing after high school and even less sure what life holds in store after college? Give us a call to schedule a visit today. Just one visit with us will change the trajectory of your life. If you’re open to it, adventure lies straight ahead.