Before college, I had a different view about it, a negative view. During high school, I knew I was going to attend college after I graduated, but all for the wrong reasons. I was simply going to enroll because in today’s society if you don’t attend an upper education you are judged and looked down upon. Unfortunately, that is just the society we live in now a days. I had an undesirable view about college because in my head I knew that I wanted to go into some kind of business and I couldn’t wrap my head around spending a fortune and four years of my life to put that dream aside just to get a piece of paper that said I graduated college. I couldn’t understand why I needed to go to college and spend all this money and time away from doing what I already new I wanted to do. I thought I was going to get to college and just go through the step by step everyday bullshit just to get through it as the professors tried to brainwash me and tell me what to think and believe everything they said. What a surprise I had when I came into college my freshman year.
My freshman year was an awakening from my preconception of college. I will say it now, I have never been a studious individual. I breezed my way though high school without even making it to class most days. I think I even missed more than a month and a half of classes my senior year in high school. I would have girls write me dr. appointment notes because they could match my mom’s handwriting. (Sorry CHS and Mom) I have always found my own way to get good grades because it has always just been a system. I’ve never been one for homework and I sure as hell didn’t study. So coming to college I thought I was just going to have to learn the system and continue what I’ve always done. But I’ll never forget the very first class of my college career, a class taught by professor Sneider. He came into class like a boss wearing a floral button down shirt with a cigar in the pocket, and he also had these super sick alligator loafers. He just moseyed on up to the front of the class and sat on his desk. He looked at everyone and simply said “Hey” as he sat there drinking his coffee. All of us sat there still and quiet not sure what to think because for most of us it was our first experience of a college class. He introduced himself to the class and told us his background, which was very impressive because he came from the big investment world where he even owned his own firm in Chicago. To me, I was like what the hell is this guy doing here he should be living out his retirement smoking cigars and playing golf. He told us that he just felt in his heart that it would be good to come and teach business classes and it also didn’t allow him get bored. However, this wasn’t the only thing that made him impressive or what brought awakening to me. It was what he said to us after we did our weird awkward ice breakers “Hi my name is Matt and I like long walks on the beach” . He didn’t go straight into telling us what curriculum we were going to learn that semester, but told us his views on college. This professor sat there giving us some of the deepest life advice most of us young-ins have ever heard from a teacher before.
What he was telling us was that if we view college as we viewed a high school test and to memorize everything, study for hours upon hours, and take 50 credits a semester, we are going to miss the whole meaning of college. At first we were all confused on what he was saying, but he simply put it- If you spend every wakening minute trying to carry a 4.0 through school by just listening to what people tell you every second and go through it like a zombie then college is going to be a waste of time, college doesn’t teach you about facts it teaches you about you. He explained that you learn life leasons that you will take with you for the rest of your life, that are more valuable than memorizing dates and terminology. At that moment, I understood the meaning of college and it was truly an awakening experience. The message the professor was trying to get across to us was that college isn’t about learning every single fact you can memorize and to become brainwashed by the teachings of our professors. But was to teach us to think for ourselves and to not be told what to think, but how to think. The professor then went and talked about “what you think you know about yourself now and what you want to do with your life will change a million times by the time you get out of here and that’s okay. That is what college is for. To teach you to know yourself, trust yourself, and to follow your gut.” After this class I had so much more of a positive outlook on college.
Through my 4 and a half years (yes 4 and a half) at college, I realized more and more of what he was saying. It wasn’t just going to class and trying to think outside the box, there is so much more to college such as meeting and surrounding yourself with people from all walks of life, being on your own, the stresses life can bring, heartbreaks, everything and anything you can imagine. I just graduated college not that long ago and couldn’t tell you half the stuff I learned. Hell, I’m convinced I still write equivalent to a 5th grade level (my girlfriend had to edit the crap out of this article), and that’s okay. What I can tell you, though, is that college was the greatest experience that’s ever happened to me. It taught me to be prepared, it taught me how to think for myself and think outside of the box, which evidently lead to the creation of Campus Essentials in my junior year. College taught me to follow through and when you hit problems there is always a solution. College taught me the importance of creating your own roads instead of taken existing ones. You might come out of college and worry about all the stuff you have no idea how to do anymore, but the real lesson of college isn’t the fact that you can solve for x when you have a linear equation, but to take life by the you know what and become the best you can be. College, to me, became an amazing outlet that opened doors that I may not have seen before. Don’t look at college as a step-by-step system to go through, but treat is as an opportunity to open new doors for you. Be sure to surround yourself with great people and take the time to truly learn who you are. That’s what college taught me.