college things & who cares about well-rounded?

July 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm 4 comments

To answer the ever-asked question, “What did you bring to school that you never used?”

Dishes.  I didn’t have many – just  a cute bowl and plate from Target (that were all of about $1 each) and some silverware.  I’m not saying I regret bringing them, because they are very cute and it was great fun to have my own dishes.  But I’ll confess that on those days I did actually need dishes – say, to eat cereal or a sandwich or something – I used one of my roomie’s paper bowls and ate the bread on a napkin.  Some people don’t mind dutifully washing dishes in the bathroom sink every morning.  But…that just didn’t happen for me, especially when I had the choice between washing and not-washing!  (But I did recycle everything I could.  In case you were concerned.)

Also, if you can, check before you bring an iron and ironing board.  My school had a few set up in the laundry room, so running downstairs may save you the extra money, hassle, and storage space.  (I also used the iron an average of once or twice a semester). 

And one of the things I brought that I’m so grateful for –

A stationary box, with postage stamps and little notecards.  Stationary is one of those things you might not think of until it’s too late, and you discover that your roommate’s birthday is tomorrow.  You wind up either sprinting to the campus bookstore to buy an overpriced card, or you make one out of folded-up notebook paper.  I suggest you avoid both of those options and come prepared.  Come with birthday cards, all-purpose cards, and maybe your favorite pen, and you’ll be good to go.  (If you don’t have stationary – I suggest checking out Vistaprint.  Most of their things are cute and ridiculously cheap – like, free cheap – and they print with good quality). 

And now for the new perspective on classes.  I’ve announced a few times (rather gleefully) that this semester I’m taking two classes that “don’t count for anything!”  In other words, they’re extra arts or social studies credits that I don’t need, because I’ve already fulfilled the general education requirements in that area.  But I’m taking them because I have the room and I really, really want to.  But these words made me change my mind: they do count.  And all the gen-ed requirements that we don’t like and make us wander around going, “What does this have to do with anything I’m studying?  Who cares about well-rounded?” – well, those are important too.  Here’s why (excerpt taken from a marketing book I’m reading, You, Inc):

“Education’s Overlooked Rewards

Anyone who observes high school juniors and seniors recognizes a widely held view about education: we educate ourselves to prepare for our careers.

With some exceptions, this point of view morphs into the view that classes must be “relevant,” and that if we are preparing for a career in business, we should major in it.  Failing that, we should take “practical” courses.  But we see education too narrowly and cheat ourselves of one of its rewards.

To illustrate this myopia, consider the high school senior who decides to major in business.  “Why learn about American history, civil engineering, agronomy?” he might reasonably ask. 

He chooses not to learn anything about these subjects.  Then he ventures into the Real World.  During just one twelvemonth period, he meets a history buff (the South, thanks to the Civil War, teems with them), a civil engineer, and the greenskeeper for a local golf course. 

How does the young man engage these three people?  By finding common ground.  If he has even a glimpse of knowledge – a recollection of Antietam or Lee’s blunder at Gettysburg, the role of nitrous oxide in Atlanta air pollution, or an understanding of why the greenest lawns actually are among the least healthy – he can strike a conversation, and then strike a chord.

If all he can talk about is the narrow sphere in which he operates, he will continue to be confined to that sphere. 

Education does more than prepare us for careers and expand our minds.  It enlarges our world – the number of people with whom we can connect.  Because education covers so much ground, it helps us find more of the ground that is common to others whom we meet. 

The more you learn, the more people you can engage.  All education is relevant, all education is practical, all education helps us grow.”

So.  Science and math may not be my favorite subjects, but people definitely are.  And if you can connect anything with a reason involving people – I think I’ll enjoy those classes a lot more now.


Entry filed under: classes, college.

thoughts & advice, part 3 Book Review: Don’t Waste Your Life

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Melody  |  July 24, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Gotta say I still disagree about the “well rounded.” What’s the whole point to everything I did in high school, if I just have to do it all again in college. High school is for learning “well roundedness” college is for learning a trade. Just my 2 cents there 🙂

  • 2. Robin  |  July 27, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Hey! Visiting from Jenna’s Journey!

    I completely agree with you about the “well rounded” point. I went to college on two different occasions in my life: fresh out of high school, and again after I was married with children. I found that the classes that I took that I didn’t “have” to take, really made an impact on me.

    Oh, and that stuff that you think “I’ll never use this in my life”…you do use it! LOL

    Robin 🙂 aka: Alabama Slacker Mama

  • 3. Teresa  |  July 28, 2010 at 6:03 am

    Visitng from Jennas….love your blog…Enjoying some blog hopping tonight….Hope you will stop by…I have some great giveaways on my holiday blog and a special post on Grammy Girlfriend.

  • 4. Amanda  |  July 29, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I’m over from Jenna’s and I love your blog. One of the things I loved about college was that you had to try a little big of everything. I went in thinking I knew exactly what I wanted, but learned that my personality and talents fit in better in another area.

    Beyond all of that, being well rounded will help you out in life! You never know when a conversation about something you barely remember from history class will turn into a wonderful opportunity!


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