How to have a true college experience

Published by adviser, Author: Joseph Szalinski - Commentary, Date: March 5, 2015

College can be that extremely overwhelming period in one’s life where there’s a confluence of responsibility and excitement. College is a time reserved for becoming engaged in rigorous study, but also for cutting lose, finding new friends, finding one’s self and sharing in a wealth of new experiences. Just from my own experiences, I can say that attending Slippery Rock has been incredibly beneficial to understanding who I am as a person and what I want to do. 

I was never one to really try all too much in high school, instead preferring to barely get by and not become involved in anything necessarily meaningful and productive. Do I have regrets? No, but I wouldn’t recommend that course for anyone else. 

Not being all too motivated, but more so, insanely confused as to what I actually wanted to do with my life, I attended community college for my first two years. Doing so helped me understand what major I wanted to pursue (after switching a few times), and it allowed me to develop a work ethic, which was previously unknown to me. I still operated in the same narrow existence that I operated in during high school, but I started to become aware that I needed to do something different and almost have a fresh start. Coming to Slippery Rock provided me with such opportunity.

It’s my opinion that college is a trial-and-error process. It’s okay to make mistakes and to totally not know what to do at every step of the way. College is a time to learn, and sometimes the best lessons come from making mistakes. The heart of the college lesson is not only learning how to bounce back after these making mistakes, but also how to integrate this experience into one’s behavior and learn how not to error in the future. 

Education is costly, but ignorance is even more so. Our education at Slippery Rock provides us a way to become significantly more well rounded individuals, while helping us learn the necessary skills for future careers. But there is more than just the classroom. Creating meaningful friendships and contacts through peers and roommates, makes the whole process easier. Join a club, seriously, not only is it something constructive to do, but joining a club shows that there is more than just partying as a means to have a good time. 

Explore campus; get to know the faculty and the buildings, and even the surrounding town. Get to feel like campus is your home away from home. It makes the whole process way easier to deal with. Yes, this whole thing is overwhelming, but it’s far more rewarding. It just takes initiative, and we’re all in this to help one another out. That’s the real college experience.


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