Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Why College is the Most Useful Waste of Time Ever

My name is Emily, and I am an undergraduate student at your typical four year university. I completely forgot where I was going with this. Actually I came up with the idea for this blog on a walk I was taking, as kind of a way of taking my thoughts out of my head and putting them down on (virtual) paper. Actually, not really. I started this blog so that I can still talk to myself without freaking out my roommate. Anyway, back to my story on college, because you can't really say something weird like, "college is the most useful waste of time ever" without explaining yourself.

Where did this come from? I have recently realised that I hate college. I understand that it is more of where I go that I hate and less of the idea, but it is nevertheless where I came up with this idea about higher education. I hate being away from home, I hate the people that I share this campus with, I hate the drunk sorority girls, I hate the food, I hate the sober sorority girls, I hate the fact that half a gallon of milk costs me $3.99... the list goes on and on. As much as I would rather be at home, with all of the cowshit, directv, and homecooked meals that I could possibly ever want, I can't say that being here hasn't been a valuable learning experience.

We all seem to think we have everything in life figured out when we're 17-18 years old. We've been through two or three breakups, so we think we have the entire idea of love figured out. It's easy, love is when you go places like the movies and the ice skating rink together and you kiss each other often. One day, you will magically meet someone who shares similar interests, and you two will get married, have children, build a white picket fence and live happily ever after and that's that. We all have a heavy interest in something, so that's obviously what we're going to go to college and study and we're going to have one career in that field until we retire. We're going to make a ton of money if we go to college. Good grades will get us anywhere. Seriously, it actually makes me angry how much high school didn't teach us.

So why are we expected to go to college right away? To me, college is a place where you pay thousands of dollars to send your kid so that he/she can grow up a little all while taking a bunch of pointless classes and sleeping until noon. They give you two years to figure out what it is that you want to study, and then are perfectly intent to make you spend the next six years in school. And the thing is that people encourage this. When my sister graduated from high school last year, I had everyone and their mother asking me what she was planning to do with her life. When I said that she didn't want to go to school, and wanted to just enter the workforce instead, they looked at me as if I had just said, "well, actually, she wants to live on couches the rest of her life and she never plans to amount to anything." In reality though, she really does have the better end of the deal for now. She gets to live at home, where she has a big, comfy bed, a room of her own, and all of the directv and homecooked meals she wants. She doesn't have thousands of dollars in debt, she makes a fairly steady paycheck, and doesn't have the consistent worry of having to move back home after college because she chose a liberal arts degree that won't get her a job, which isn't exactly on everyone's to-do list. She gets the comfort of having her family there whenever she needs them, something I do have, but in a long distance sort of way.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic. Basically, in high school, I knew that I wanted to be in a city. I kept telling myself that I belong in a city, where all the action is, and that I couldn't wait to get away from all of the cow shit and rednecks. I wanted to be a music teacher, because I was fairly decent at the flute and thought it was the only really stable thing I could do with a music degree. I was going to have fun, gradually stop calling home, move out the second I could, and eventually move somewhere far, far away.

Things that I've learned in my time so far at school:

1) I need fields. I prefer the smell of cow shit to the smell of sewers, car exhaust and bus fumes any day. When I'm upset, and feel like my bedroom walls are closing in on me, I need wide open spaces to explore and walk around. I don't like traffic. And I like being able to walk around at 9:30 pm without fear of being robbed, raped and/or stabbed.
2) I don't need a great job. I don't need a job that pays well. A good paying job would make life easier, but ultimately I want a job where I can help people, a job where I can make a difference somehow. I want to travel, I want to live on couches, I want to see and do things that I never would have thought of doing (like trying frog legs... I definitely did NOT wake up that morning and think, "hm, I wonder how frog legs taste," nor did I particularly like the taste, but there was an element of exhilaration in trying those frog legs that I long for every now and again)... (the exhilaration, not the frog legs).
3) The grass is not always greener on the other side. I think this is self explanatory.
4) I want to live close to my family and friends. Even if it means living knee deep in cow shit forever, it would all be worth it for homecooked meals and directv. I'm kidding, kind of. I think it's healthy to get out and explore the world, but your family (if you're lucky like me and you have a solid, intact, loving family) will always be your biggest fan, and your house will be a safe refuge when your liberal arts degree doesn't get you a job.

So with that said, college hasn't been a completely invaluable waste of time; I think I've learned enough valuable knowledge about life to get me started, and I've learned the importance of discovering what you want out of life. I won't be going to graduate school anytime soon, because one of the biggest things I've learned is that I need to get out of a classroom and see the world for myself. College is almost like a safe haven. You're not required to find a job yet, and you have a safety net that is mom and dad just in case you do fall on your ass. It's basically day care for young adults, a place where they go until they can learn how to wipe their asses and hold their own bottles. Therefore, it is through my personal experiences that I can say that that college is the most useful waste of time (and money) ever.

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