College Guide 2012
Want to survive college?
One grad's advice: Join a band, get out of town
Published: September 7, 2012
It can feel like the classic situation of the person who goes into business for himself to gain some independence then ends up working 70- or 80-hour weeks. Perpetually overwhelmed, the reasons for creating the job in the first place — fun and independence — are lost.
The same can be said for a full-time student who's always surrounded by lingering reminders of schoolwork left to do. If they are always hanging out with friends struggling to deal with the same issues — working their job, studying, going to class, seeing family who keenly ask how school is going — there's no way to stop thinking about that paper that's left to write. Given all this, it shouldn't be a surprise that so many students feel overwhelmed.
Universities should be helping students with more opportunities (or make better known the offerings they already have for them) to see things beyond their personal struggles with coursework. If they can't offer help in the form of school credit or simply creating more chances for students to just do something else, then garnering real-life experience should be made more of a central part to the coursework.
After playing a set in Iowa, we had to drive 10 hours overnight (myself at the helm) to Cheyenne, Wyo., for a show the next day. As I approached the Wyoming border, the sun had started to rise amid the immaculate, sprawling landscape I had read about in books by my favorite authors. With everyone asleep in the van, I was taken aback by the simple sight of dozens of cattle grazing next to a group of elk, practically a replica of the mental picture I had of this part of the country before ever driving west of the Mississippi. With no other car, building or, for that matter, any sign of human life in sight, it was a moment of complete solitude — one I have so few of — where, without thinking, I stopped driving to get out and admire what was in front of me. No, I'm not sure what the lesson of that particular morning was. But, seeing something like that firsthand is something I never garnered from a class.
There's a good chance your college years will in fact be the best time of your life. Just make sure not to spend all of that time in college.
Ryan Felton is a recent Wayne State University journalism graduate and a Metro Times editorial intern.
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