School should be about more than passing grades

It’s been recently said to me that if the first week of your semester is bad, that’s not a good sign for the rest of the semester.

Fortunately, I did not have a bad first week, but I talked to a lot of people who were either already stressed by their classes and workload or were already bogged down with assignments and papers that were due. It can be easy to get lost in due dates and syllabuses and textbooks that cost a ridiculous amount of money only to be used a couple times. And that’s just the classes. Don’t forget about the extracurricular activities you are a part of, or the service projects you want to be involved in (or need for resume padding), or the club meetings and events, or the sports practices, or the eight hours of sleep you are recommended to get every night.

If you’re like me, before you know it, your schedule is full and you barely have time to fit in eating before rushing off to the next to-do item on your list.

I would argue that it can be very easy to lose track of the big picture of what college is meant to be.

Yes, classes are important; after all, that is the point of going to college: to get an education. Extracurricular activities are a great way to pursue something you are passionate about, expand your viewpoint, and meet new people. But neither should be the be all-end all of your college experience. You shouldn’t have to worry yourself sick about getting the perfect GPA or finding the perfect RSO to join. College should be about expanding your horizons and learning who you are and who you want to be.

As a senior approaching my last year, I’m definitely coming into this year with a different point of view than I’ve had in the past. Everything is punctuated by “last’s”; last fall semester, last football games with my friends, last time buying a parking pass. I’m not going to lie: some of these are nice last times, but most are bittersweet.

I’ve worked hard over the last three years to get where I am, but looking back, it isn’t the tests and grades that I want to be remembered by. I don’t want those to be the only representation of who I was as student at MSU.

I lived last year always running from one thing to the next, because I thought my success would be valued by how many extra things that I involved myself in. And it all caught up to me very quickly; I became burnt out and barely had enough energy to get my classwork done, let alone any free time to devote to myself. I barely scraped by in some of my assignments and even though I was turning them in and meeting the requirements, it wasn’t work that I was proud of.

I am challenging myself to be more this semester and hope to challenge you as well. Not necessarily take on more activities and tasks, but to just be in the moment more often. In whatever I am doing, I want to invest my time there. Be present and focused there, whether that be at class, at work, at the Reporter, or simply hanging out with my friends. College is a great time to set yourself up career-wise, but it’s also the best time to explore who you are and make lifelong friendships that will get you through hard times ahead.

Alissa Thielges

Alissa is a sophomore majoring in mass media at MSU. When she doesn't have her nose stuck in a book, she enjoys eating pie and fangirling over various fictional characters. You can get in touch with her at her email alissa.thielges@mnsu.edu.

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