How Much Do You Actually Learn in College?
This week I was asked to write an opinion piece about some aspect of college, which was surprisingly hard to come up with. As I tried to reflect back on my time in college I thought of a million things to write about, but the hard part was narrowing it down to one thing. Finally it came to me – what is the whole point of college? For me personally I went to college to learn, not just to get a job. My whole life I have enjoyed being in school, so it made sense to go to college to learn even more and to eventually get a degree so that I could get a higher paying job. So, I ask myself…what did I actually learn in college? Does the price tag accurately reflect how much knowledge and experience that students come out of college with?
Of course, I am reflecting on my own experience, so other kids in college could have a completely different view or opinion. For me personally, college disappointed me in some ways. I thought that because I was going to a private, small, liberal arts college that every single one of my classes would be challenging, interesting and amazing all at once. This was certainly not the case. I remember taking classes like The Bible, Elementary functions, Ethics, History of Music etc. and thinking that they were a complete waste of time. It wasn’t even that the classes were boring or hard or anything, it was that they had the potential to be good classes and they just weren’t. Whether it was the professor’s teaching style, the people in the class, or the chosen material, these classes straight up sucked.
I realized that the one thing that these classes had in common was that they lost me in the beginning and then it was all downhill from there. Once you get a bad taste of something are you going to continue to want more? On the other hand, I took classes that completely intrigued me and kept my attention even after the lecture was over. All of these classes are the ones that I learned from and still remember things from. To be honest, they weren’t even classes that I thought I would be interested in at all. To name a few – corporate finance, creative writing, anthropology, sociology, media analysis, ethics etc. were all classes that I distinctly remember learning a ton in.
I think the amount and extent by which you learn obviously has a lot to do with your specific interests, but I don’t think that it ends there. I think that your surroundings and particular environment really lends a hand to the classes you remember and those that you don’t. If your professor is always using real examples and seems to really care, you’re probably going to learn a lot. If you have a washed up, ready to retire professor that rambles on about nothing it’s not doing you any good. If you’re in a class of slackers who are constantly bargaining on due dates with the professor I think that it affects your attitude about the class.
My overall point of this is that college may disappoint you, but it’s important to not become discouraged. You will sign up for classes that you think you’ll learn a lot in and you will come to find that you haven’t learned as much as you thought you would. But, for every class that you take that disappoints you, there will be one that pleasantly surprises you. Also, you can’t really measure how much you learn just by your classes. I think that if you graduate college as a better person than when you entered, it’s a good sign that you learned a good amount. So there you have it, my opinion of learning in college.