Society & Culture & Entertainment Education

Finding Moderation in College

If you're heading off to college for the first time, or if you're considering going back, you may have some preconceived notions about college. How do you think of it? Does college sound like it will be drudgery, with exam after exam and research paper after research paper pushing you to the brink? Or do you think of college as one big party, time spent with friends partying until the wee hours of the morning followed by a hangover the next morning? If done right, college should really be neither of these two extremes. In fact, college should challenge you, and there should also be time to let your hair down. But the reality is that college done right is really meant to be a time of personal growth, intellectual challenge, and exciting social interactions.

The number one reason most people go to college is to be intellectually challenged. At least, that is what most college faculty are striving to do to help their students. The stereotypical late night coffee fueled study sessions are only one part of the equation. A good college professor will do more than teach you information. They'll teach you how to think. You should have opportunities to examine your view of the world and other ways to think about things. The best classes are the ones that challenged you in ways you'd never considered, like a psychology professor that teaches critical thinking or a math professor that teachers philosophy. The intellectual challenges you'll encounter during your college years will be like nothing you've faced to that point.

Personal growth is another one of the biggest advantage to going to college. While everyone had different expectations growing up, just think of the experiences you may be facing for the first time. Many students find themselves balancing a checkbook for the first time. Most are living with a non-family members for the first time. Then there are the responsibilities of day to day living that you may take for granted until you are responsible for all of them--doing laundry, taking care of meals, deciding how late to stay up and how early to get up. For many students, romantic relationships start becoming more serious. All of these new experiences add up to a tremendous amount of opportunities for personal growth.

One of the overlooked components of going to college is the opportunity for new social experiences. Despite the fact that we live in the so called "melting pot" in America, there are millions of us who grow up in a fairly insulated culture. You may or may not interact with those that are of a different race, religion, or socioeconomic background from your own. In college, this is very unlikely to continue. Most universities go out of their way to bring in students with different backgrounds in order to ensure diversity. Even if you attend a small college, you'll be surprised how a smaller school still attracts students from all walks of life, from all over the world. Your interactions with students different from yourself will be an enriching experience as you learn to see the world from the perspective of others.

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