Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Things I Have Learned About College So Far

It's Wednesday night. I have two tests on Friday that I have to study for, a good sized book to read for a four page report due Wednesday (barely even started reading the book), and a pretty big group project that I have to organize for my on-line class that may or may not be due tonight. Staring at all the crap I have to do in a very short amount of time, I have decided to sit here, drink some manly Smirnoff, and write here instead because I am very dedicated to this whole college thing.

I've been in college for two years now. This should be my last semester, but math happened, which put me behind. I realize now that if I had tried to do college right after high school, there is no way I would've made it this far. 10 years later, I have a better appreciation for the whole experience, and am willing to put up with the bullshit that college students have to go through.

Before I even started, I assumed that I would just hate every "young adult" that I would have classes with. People aged 18-23 generally just irritate the shit out of me. They think they know shit, when they wouldn't know, to quote the immortal Gorilla Monsoon, "A wrist lock from a wrist watch." Basically, they don't know a damn thing. However, what I have noticed is that, for the most part, these young kids are basically cool for the most part. Most of the ones I've had classes with are focused and actually contribute to discussions really well. I'm not ashamed to say that I may have made a couple of "young adult" friends in my tenure thus far. They might not say the same about me, but I really don't care. What surprised me is how some of the "adults" act. In one of my earlier classes, there was this big, burly, biker-looking dude who knew everything. Period. The journeys he has had gave him very intimate knowledge about the struggles in the third world countries we were discussing. Even though there were times that he was flat out wrong on all accounts, he refused to back down because he was old and wise and the teacher didn't know shit, obviously. There was an older lady in my computer class that all but demanded special attention from the teacher because she was an old lady and didn't understand how a keyboard worked.  On more than one occasion an an "adult" has attempted to lead class using their "knowledge" about whatever bullshit they could come up with. Seeing this has given me a more realistic view on things. Not all young people are jackasses, and age does not equal wisdom.

The thing I find the most useless in a real world application would be college level math. I can see its usefulness if a student is going into a math or science related field, but come on. Art majors shouldn't need college algebra. Anything above Intermediate Algebra should not be required. I spend about two months in College Algebra, and I can without a shadow of a doubt that that level of math has little to no real world application to anyone outside of the math/science fields. None. At all. If anyone can think of any reason why a nurse would need to know how to figure imaginary numbers, I would love to hear it.

As far as English classes go, they are far more useful at this level. In high school, I remember being bored to tears with English. All the diagramming of sentences, and all that other crap I don't remember could just go fly a kite. In college, it has a far more practical use, at least here at NCMC. Learning how to write various different types of papers is highly useful. Hell, learning how to write properly period seems to be becoming less and less important. Just check your Facebook friend activity or whatever it's called. I can guarantee you that most of the people that post on there can't write for shit. I think that if high school classes focused more on writing papers and less on the different parts of the sentence, our English scored would improve. If nothing else, learning how to research information might improve interest in learning.

On to less education-related stuff, since I think I'm drinking a little too fast and don't really feel like thinking. I have learned how pick and choose what I study for. Take this semester for instance. I have two history classes. One of them is American History Up to 1877, and Western Civilization Since 1700. Now there are times where the information from the two classes sync up, which is awesome. Most of the time they do not, which is not awesome. The notes for Am. History (already prepared by the teacher) tend to be anywhere from 10-50 pages. Western Civ. is about 10-20, depending on what I write down since we are in charge of our own note taking. Guess which class I study for. Here is a hint: American History grade is around 80%. Western Civilization grade is around 89-90%. If there are too many notes, I'm not going to read them. I find history a little more interesting than I did 10 years ago, but not enough to read 50 pages of boring shit. Oh, and those are just the pages of notes. It is also recommended that we read the chapters in the book. American History chapters are, at the very least, 30 pages a piece, and each test covers three chapters usually. There's no way I'm reading all that shit. I honestly don't know why I bother getting text books. The only books I have opened have been my math books, my Health Education book, my Ethics book when the teacher told us to, and my World Literature book. My English books, Sociology, biology, physical science, all those others books just took my money to never really be opened.

There has been a little discussion going around lately about whether college is actually worth the money. My answer is maybe. Fortunately for myself, my actual classes are basically paid for because I am on the Pell Grant (being poor has its advantages). I do have a student loan that I get every year, which is around $3500. By the time I'm finished, assuming tuition and all those other costs don't go up too much, I should owe somewhere in the area of $12-15 thousand, which doesn't compare to what some people owe. If you can get a good job right out the gate after college, you should be fine. Some people are not that lucky. A buddy of mine, who was pretty damn good at digital animation (I think that's what it was called), has spent the past few years trying to find any sort of job relating to what he went to school for with no luck. It really depends on what you go to school for, and how aggressive you are after graduating in your job hunt. Some smart people get themselves into internships to better increase their chances. I'd like to become a journalist, but I know that English careers aren't doing real well right now. That is why I plan on getting my certification for Computer Network Administration Technician after my get my Associates. English careers might not be that needed, but we will always need computer dorks, and I plan on being one of them.

I've ran out of steam and stuff to talk about. Listen up kiddies: College is not that bad, as long as you are smarter than people like me and actually set aside some time to get your homework, projects, or whatever else you might have to do so you aren't rushing everything at the last minute. Understand that if you don't have someone footing the bill, you will have debt that might take a long time to pay off. The economy is dog shit currently, so any job is hard to come by, which is why you should try to get shit going ahead of time. Finally, most college kids aren't too bad, and some of us adults are damn idiots. Thank you and good night.


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  2. I definitely agree with you about English education. It really should focus on composition, not on grammar. Grammar comes with learning the structures, not the other way around. People learn by example, not rote.

    A former instructor of mine once said: "Technical Writing is the one English job that pays." I'm a Technical Writer. ;) In the Midwest, it pays about $36-40k. I was hired in April 2011 during my second-to-last semester of grad school to get my master's.

    I think luck has a large part to do with getting hired anywhere, not just diligence. I literally: woke from a nap in the Student Union ...a former Medical Writing instructor saw me and told me to contact so-and-so ...I contacted so-and-so and was directed to my now-boss the next day ...I had my first interview with my now-boss the day after that ...I had my second interview the following week ...and the week after that I started.