Mark Twain is credited with saying, “I never let my schooling get in the way of my education.” As the academic year nears its end, we’re faced with finals and testing how much we’ve learned in school. I’d like to also take some time to reflect on what I’ve learned outside of the classroom this year.
First of all, I’ve learned that I love to procrastinate. If I have an assignment due at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday, odds are you’ll find me working on it that morning. I get a thrill out of seeing how quickly I can churn out quality work in the face of looming deadlines. Must be the journalist in me.
Through my procrastinating tendencies, I’ve discovered that some projects take time, and I can’t always expect to achieve excellence (to use an Augustana cliché) in a short period of time.
I’ve also learned that sometimes I have to do things that I don’t like just because someone in a position of authority tells me I have to. If anyone has figured out a way around this fact, please enlighten me, because I’m still not quite accepting.
Contrary to my behavior freshman year, I’ve learned that exercise is, in fact, a good idea. After a nice run, I feel more motivated and energized to work on whatever else I need to do. It’s also a great time to clear my thoughts and contemplate life’s deep questions.
In a similar vein, eating well has a tremendous impact on my overall mood. If I feel fit and healthy, I don’t feel so bad on those nights when I’m in the library until midnight. Consuming fewer calories in liquid form keeps productivity much higher as well.
One of the more difficult lessons I’ve encountered this year is that not everyone has the same worldview as I do. We all reach conclusions about the world based on our beliefs, values, upbringing and opinions, and it shouldn’t be so surprising that people have vastly different outlooks on life.
In short, I shouldn’t be so quick to judge someone’s opinions. Rather, I should look at developing an understanding of the life experiences that led them to those conclusions. The beauty of the liberal arts education is the perspective it provides on life. I’m starting to recognize that if I’ve really adopted the liberal arts mindset, I’ll graduate with more questions than answers.
Additionally, I’ve learned in my short two years of college that separating lights from darks in the washing machine does not matter if you don’t mind all of your clothes being grey.
Most of all, I’ve learned that my relationships teach me more than all of my classes combined. Without caking on too much sentimentality, my group of college friends has opened my eyes to aspects of my character that I never would have discovered on my own. My professors have inspired me to take on the world, and, after a few more years of life lessons at Augustana, I intend to do so.