Growing up, I was never really someone who excelled in school. It’s not that I was stupid, I was just not that interested. I was more interested in sports and partying, especially during my high school years. I always thought about college but since I associated it with high marks, I didn’t really think it serious.
But then, when I decided to move to a new city, I thought I’d apply. I had a number of interests ranging from business to journalism but was eventually accepted into a two-year business administration program. My plan was to actually do good this time and focus on school work but to also party hard, just like what I had seen in the movies. That’s what you’re supposed to do in college right?
I did both and had two incredible years. Actually, I developed many new interests such as making friends with teachers who were super inspiring and travel thanks to applying and getting accepted to study for two weeks in Denmark! That was my first time leaving Canada!
Things I learned in college
Although I obviously learned about business-related things, there were a number of other important things I learned during those two years.
- How to balance full-time school with work. Ever since I turned 14, I’ve had some sort of job, whether it be part-time or full-time. I think it’s important to earn your own money and by doing this, I graduated with no debt.
- Teachers are more important than the course. I learned that any course – even a boring one – can be made interesting with the right teacher. A bad teacher can make even the most exciting course dull and boring. When a teacher inspires you, ask them if you can meet after class. Buy them a coffee. Discuss things. You’ll be surprised how much you will learn.
- Extra curricular activities are just as important as the course. This could depend on what you’re studying but from my experience everyone will graduate with the same diploma. What will make you stand out is the extra curricular activities you participated in on campus. For example, if you’re in business, you should join some sort of business club. Become the president. If you’re into politics, run for student council. Organize events. Organize parties. Use your time at school to get hands-on at the same time you’re learning theory.
- Make friends with everyone. In high school, many people stay friends with a certain group and ignore everyone else. In college, it opens up but it’s up to you to shed those barriers you may have created in your younger years. College should be a time to meet people from all different backgrounds and expand your horizons. Just try it.
- Have fun. This might sound silly but I see too many people who bury their heads in work after work after work. You should care about your marks but you should equally care about meeting people, participating in activities and enjoying your life. College and university is a short but exciting time in life and it would be a pity to waste it all on studying. Also, if you’re looking to do great things in life, being able to form relationships will likely take you further than academics.
Lastly, I just want to say that college isn’t necessary in many circumstances. I’m glad I went because of the friends I made and the overall experience of being a student BUT many things in life no longer require a college diploma or a university degree. I studied business but in retrospect, I would have done better by putting that money into a starting a business and learning how to grow it from nothing into something. That hands-on learning is hard to come by and is often much more valuable than academics. Think about it.
This experience was part of The List – a bucket list of incredible things I wanted to do before I die. Check it out.