Saturday, June 5, 2010

Things You Will Learn In College

Several months ago, a friend asked me to write a short essay about my experience graduating high school. The essay would be part of a larger compilation that was to be presented to graduating seniors that attended our church. In the spirit of that assignment I created the following list.
Things You Will Learn In College
  • There will be no greater frustration in your collegiate life than dealing with the school’s business office. Tuition payments will be misallocated, classes will be incorrectly credited, and occasionally you will be mistaken for a Korean exchange student when you request a copy of your transcript. The local community college still owes me $10 and I am more likely to be murdered by a French kangaroo assassin than to see that money again.
  • The schedule of class offerings will make it categorically impossible to actually schedule your prerequisites before the classes that they serve as perquisites for. This ensures that you will be taking Introduction to Hungarian Groove Poetry just to maintain the minimum credit hours until the class you actually need is offered again. 
  • The college textbook industry is run by organized crime. Every year the book manufacturers will issue a new edition that slightly alters the cover art and ensures that none of you page numbers match the previous year’s syllabus without contributing any new information. Mark my words, every year there will be a new edition of Ancient Mesopotamian Literature to purchase even though we do not annually discover any new ancient Mesopotamian literature. 
  •   Cologne / perfume should be used sparingly as a substitute for actually washing your clothes and showering. 
  • You will not really decide on your major until at least your third year, so until that time you can divert unwanted inquiries by replying that you are pursuing a doctorate in “Leisure Studies.” If they ask you exactly what comprises “Leisure Studies” you can simply inform them that you have not yet gotten around to that in class.
  • It is imperative not to judge others based on their mannerisms or outward appearance. You will be exposed to a dizzying array of philosophies, viewpoints, and personal credos while in college which can be invaluable in shaping new views or cementing old ones.
  •   In direct contrast to the preceding rule, never trust anyone with more than one Mickey Mouse tattoo or people who refer to themselves exclusively in the third person as both can be early manifestations of mental illness.
  • Don’t assume someone is artsy just because they listen to Radiohead or Snow Patrol, read Shakespearean tragedies, and seem socially withdrawn. They may just be depressed because they are enrolled at their safety school.
  • If you live on campus, at some point, you will attend an 8:00 AM class while wearing pajama pants and a free T-Shirt that you received as compensation for attending a youth event.
  • Parents tend to frown on terms like “academic probation” and “property damage.” Do your best to ensure that they do not receive any official university communications that contain these phrases.
  • When you attend a party, do not forget that both God and Facebook are watching you, but only one of them dispenses grace.
  • Hold fast to your optimistic ideologies, their constant infusion into the world inoculates the rest of us against selfish pessimism.
  • Your faith will be tested by new opportunities and more elaborate temptations than you have faced before. When you successfully resist temptation: cautious humility. When you succumb to temptation: constructive repentance. When you witness others succumb to temptation: grace and compassion.

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