College is weird. Have you ever really unpacked it?
Before you even go to college, you have to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. This decides your major. Then you pick the best school for you. You better pick the perfect one, though, or else the credits you take might not transfer elsewhere.
Then you pay thousands of dollars to take all these courses that meet both a general quota for classes and quotas for your major and minor. The money you use to pay for school is sometimes graciously awarded to you by the federal government or a scholarship, but then there’s the money that you’re borrowing from the government or a private bank that you have to pay back. The more classes you take, the more your debt runs up. The more of these courses you take, the more it becomes more about how many points you have than what you’re actually learning.
Then after you graduate, you find well-paying jobs that will help you pay back your debt and then you live happily ever after and die. This is the American Dream.
I’m grateful that I live in a country where I can get any kind of post-secondary education, but as I near the point where I walk across a stage and get my paper of proof, I can’t help but feel unfulfilled.
It seems like just yesterday that someone from the Maverick Moving Crew broke the frame of my favorite poster when I was moving into McElroy on a steamy August afternoon. That was a good representation of what my Maverick experience was going to be.
There’s a pressure to make your college years the best they can be. You’re supposed to go to all these parties, attend sporting events and feel a part of the university community. I didn’t do any of that in my time here. I’m telling you that you don’t have to feel that pressure. Just enjoy college how you want to.
My semesters went like this: do the work to get the points, learn a few things, take the finals and then onto the next semester. It may be a reflection of my character, but many of the courses I took at MNSU were just uninspiring. It was probably the high schooler me in math class asking, “When am I ever going to use this?” This is by no means discrediting the work put forth by the professors I took. I’ve had some of the best professors at MNSU. It’s home to some pretty intellectual individuals. My feelings relate to the way the system is set up and the professors don’t have anything to do with that.
When I wasn’t doing academic-related work, I was probably working at a part-time job or doing work for a student media organization. I applied as a staff writer in the summer of 2015, before I even stepped foot on the campus. I knew I needed to write for the MSU Reporter. I had been writing for newspapers for years and loved it.
I’m thankful to the MSU Reporter for the experiences and opportunities it provided me. Your campus newspaper is awesome. If you don’t have the fire like I did to apply for it, you should still pick up copies when you can. If you do your research, you’ll find that student platforms like this one are dying across the universities.
I’m also thankful to KMSU Radio. Before I came to MSU, I never would have thought I’d be doing any kind of audio storytelling. I hate the sound of my own voice. Why would I want to record it for a living? But I did it and I ended up loving the work I did for the Southern Minnesota New Project and KMSU in general. College is the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone.
Who knows what the future has in store for me? I’ll probably get one job to start off with and then work my whole life until I die, with some fun bits sprinkled here and there. I’m probably frantically searching for jobs as you read this. I appreciate you joining me on my downward spiral.
At this point in this piece, I’m realizing that I have no idea where I’m going. Sounds like a lot of papers I’ve written. I wonder if I’ll get an A on this. I really need it to pass.