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Monday, November 15, 2010

What I Learned in College: A List

1) Procrastination is HIGHLY underrated. As in, very few people truly appreciate how little you have to do to pass things. I spent the first year and a half of my college existence busting my behind to get every homework assignment, test, quiz, reading assignment, and random question in class completely RIGHT. Little did I know, only about 10% of the those things actually matter.

2) Reading assignments are never, ever a part of that 10%. Ever.

3) Unless you learn by hearing (which I don't -- I learn through experiencing and/or teaching myself), lectures are pointless.

4) Don't be fooled by the cleverly placed "20% of your grade will be based on attendance." It is code for "Bring your laptop to class so you can get other work done during the hour and a half I waste babbling to you about stuff I also give to you on PowerPoint slides and detailed handouts."

5) New editions of textbooks are lies. Vicious, vicious lies. Save yourself about $500 a semester by buying last year's editions of textbooks. Same content, slightly less-shiny cover. Yeah, it is TOTALLY worth the $250 price tag to buy a book with a holographic cover when I could spend $50 on a not-quite-as-impressive version. LIES.

6) I will probably get pelted by angry blog trolls for saying this (*puts on helmet*), but unless you have a career goal that requires specialized knowledge and/or skills (medical doctor, teacher, engineer, scientist), college really...isn't...necessary. The job I have now I got because of my writing credentials. And if you look at most job descriptions, they ask for "3-5 years of experience." Translation: "We magically want you to accumulate 4 years of full-time experience while taking 20 credit hours a semester, but since all you have is a degree, well, we'll consider you, but this guy over here who doesn't have a degree but has 4 years of high-stress managerial experience got hired before he even said his name." In other words: experience trumps degree. Sorry, college-lovers.

7) For freshmen: every single freshman on campus is just as scared as you. Promise. Even that really big drunk guy.

8) Another reason procrastinating is so, so vital to college: in all my time at all my various colleges, I don't remember any specific studying time that sticks out to me as the BEST DAY EVER OMG. I do, however, have plenty of friend-hanging-out-times that stick out to me as some of the BEST DAYS EVER OMG. I wish I'd realized the value of procrastination and made more fun memories.

9) Lots of people will try to freak you out about a lot of things. Facebook privacy OMG. Drinking OMG. Not letting anyone use your swipey card to get into buildings OMG. Just don't do anything stupid (ie: common sense FTW) and you'll be fine.

10) Professors don't know everything. No matter how much they SWEAR they do.

11) The professors who think they know everything are REALLY fun to piss off. Trust me.

12) Taco Bell is only delicious past 3AM.

13) Don't take it too seriously. Remember: it's only one paper, or one test, or one quiz. The end of the world it is not. And no matter what happens, you will graduate with the same degree as everyone else. They don't put a gold sticker on your diploma for getting an A on every single quiz.

Thus begins my last finals' week EVER.

*raises glass of champagne* Cheers, all.


Neurotic Workaholic said...

I can always tell when my students are only pretending to work when they bring their laptops to class. That's why I won't let them use them unless they're actually doing real work, and I walk around the room to check on them. And I figure it's only fair, since it's not like I can use my laptop and surf the Web when I'm teaching.
I hate to sound like the too strict, uptight teacher, but reading assignments are important; I've gotten too many e-mails from people who didn't know how to do the assignments because they didn't do the reading.

K. M. Walton said...

The finish line is calling you, Sarah! Can you hear it?!

Yay for graduating.

Mariah Irvin said...


Dara said...

I DEFINITELY agree with you on #6. Honestly I think college is a waste of time for most people. I mean, I spent 80K and got a degree in English and what am I doing now? Working part-time as a friggin secretary in a real estate office. Something I could've done as a high school graduate.

And the most frustrating thing about job hunting was the fact they want you to have all this experience. Really? How the crap people get that "experience" is beyond me.

Yeah, I could rant on this forever :P I'm pretty sure my sister could too--she's in the same boat--unemployed and job hunting even though she's got a degree and been out of school since May.

The only good thing I got out of college wasn't educational--I met my husband and established many friendships that will last a lifetime. Still, that's pretty hefty price tag to pay for that :P

Sara B. Larson said...

Yay!! You're almost there! And you've learned so very, very much. Money well spent, sista. Yep, you bet. :) Congrats and good luck!

Samantha Vérant said...

Ooo-hoo! good luck on the finals, mi lady. I'm right with you. I hate being lectured to. And I have to disagree. Taco Bell is HELL any time day or night...

Anonymous said...

it's sad how accurate this is. congrats on your upcoming graduation! ha.

Unknown said...


100% yes.

Dolly Paolucci said...

#13 was a spot-on! It's really amazing (more like amusing) how some students exert so much effort in studying for one exam as if their future depends on it. Well, it's a case-to-case basis, but I doubt that their life would be in ruins once they get something like a slightly above passing rate for that test. You're right -- the degree is the same for everyone. People shouldn't forget that the best things learned in college are the ones learned outside the classroom.