A senior perspective: What, if anything, in college is worth it?
No matter how many times we talk, my sister asks me the same painfully common question: “Is college really worth it?”
My sister and I are just 17 months apart, so we have shared in the many highs and lows of college together. Writing papers, buying textbooks, dealing with tough professors, and making new friends in a completely foreign atmosphere are things we didn’t have to go through alone.
Still, when she asks me those five little words, I’m disappointed in her for even having to resurrect the question again.
To really understand the worth of a college education, we have to look beyond the books sometimes.
Your grades are important. I would never even begin to deny the importance of doing well in class, but I’ve learned more from regularly watching Jeopardy than I ever have from sitting in a hot, stuffy classroom for a few hours a week.
Writing papers can also be pretty important. However I would also argue that after I graduate, nobody is ever again going to ask you to compare and contrast the poetry of Giovanni Boccaccio and Dante Alighieri in 20 pages.
What is most vital to your college education, however, are your experiences. The successes and the failures you encounter during your time in college are worth more than any grade you will ever receive.
When I arrived at Seton Hall in the Fall of 2008, my delusions of grandeur led me to believe what I wanted most was to attend law school following my undergraduate studies. I was sure that law school would bring me happiness, but most importantly a future of success and money.
What I didn’t realize then was that I wasn’t doing what I loved to do, and that is what college students fail to realize: as cliché as it sounds, money and success won’t always buy you happiness.
I switched my focus to journalism during my junior year and while it may set me back a bit, I would much rather be doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
So when my sister sends her bi-weekly text and asks if college is worth it, it’s definitely an easy one to figure out: with time and patience, the experience of your four years in college alone will make all the difference to your future.
John Lopiano is a senior journalism major from Brooklyn, N.Y. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.