I was sold a bag of goods about college.
For all of my life, sunshine was shoved down my throat about how amazing the college experience is. I got it from people who never enrolled! From all the good press I heard, going to a major, four year university would be the most formative experience of my life and make everything you did in high school child’s play. You’ll miss it when it’s over and wish you could go back for a second.
I finished my higher education this past May. It certainly flew by (COVID disrupted the concept of time), but it was a staggeringly unremarkable four years. I’ll be the first one to blame myself for failing to make a name for myself during this time, but there are so many aspects of the college experience that were more or less total hogwash.
- There are two claims from two opposite parties that were both false regarding professors. High school teachers spoke of college professors as the highest order of scholars who demanded excellence who refused to hold students’ hands. Wrong. Half of my classes felt like bad dreams of my worst memories of high school: when you simply don’t feel like talking and your frustrated and underpaid teacher begs you to raise your hand and answer questions in class. The only difference now is that the salary of a professor does not justify them to badger us. I certainly didn’t pay tuition to worry about class participation. You talk. We test. I used to say this in high school, but it only rings more true in college: enforce the message that the onus is on the students to pay attention in class.
- However, the other myth about college professors comes from college students, which is that professors are actually the most down to earth people around, and just “one of the guys/gals”. Again, just more nonsense. While I never had anyone who was a straight up asshole, the idea of developing a personal relationship with any professor was infeasible. Just because you could call some of them by their first name doesn’t make them cool.
- People have told me with a straight face that college is an environment that makes you more mature and prepared for the world. If anything, I reverted in my progression of maturing and growing. Even by walking through the halls of academic buildings or the dining hall lobby, you can tell you’re not part of a great symposium of philosophy. I don’t mean this as an insult. My gripe is with the people who hype up college life. We’re all still young and dumb!
My only real takes involve academics, because everything else was that unmemorable. My nights consisted of watching 70s films by myself in my room. Don’t get me wrong, those nights are my calling card. But in the end, I don’t identify any growth I had as a result of the collegiate experience. I did learn and expand upon ideas and concepts in the communication and film studies field in my courses, but I probably would’ve been better off commuting.