What I Learned From College Outside Of The Classroom

Many college missions are to prepare you for the “real world.” You know that big, scary place where there’s no one there to help you, and you have to find work to survive?

I don’t know whether to start this sentence with fortunately or unfortunately, but in two weeks and five days from writing this I will be walking off the graduation stage into that big, scary, real world.

Recently, I have been reflecting on all the things I learned in college that didn’t come from a lecture, textbook, or power point. While these life lessons were happening to me as a freshman, sophomore, junior, and even senior, I didn’t realize that they were happening. It’s now, staring at my gap and gown in front of me that I find myself saying, “Wow, I learned a lot.”

The first thing that I learned in college is that you should never be afraid to move out of your comfort zone. Unfortunately, I learned this a little too late in the game, but I still have my whole life to change it. Don’t be afraid to join the school musical production even if you’re not a trained singer. Try out for the baseball team, even if you struck out in little league every time up at bat, take a course you have no knowledge of, write for the newspaper, join the dance team, have fun! Putting yourself in unfamiliar, and maybe sometimes even uncomfortable, situations will help you meet new people and experience new things.

Secondly, I learned that hard work really does pay off. As harsh as it may sound, as a young college student you are one in a million. You have to make yourself stand out and it takes a lot of work to do so. Today, while I was presenting my senior project to a large group of people I was stopped and presented with a gold medal award. The gold medal award is an award for having the highest GPA of all the students in my major. At that moment I felt like everything I had done in the past four years, the sleepless nights studying, the running around to interview sources, the rearranging of schedules for group projects, was all recognized and rewarded, and it felt great! If I could, I would change the old saying to, “good things come to those who wait…AND WORK HARD.”

Lastly, I learned if you want something done you have to do it yourself. I’m not bashing humanity here, and it may be cliché to say but you have to be the change you want to see. In college you will learn that if you want that internship you have to be the best dressed one in the interview. If you want the perfect spring break vacation, plan it yourself. Don’t get me wrong, accepting help is never shameful, but relying it on entirely will get you nowhere.

While these are all lessons that have become relevant during my four years in college, I know they will be lessons I will remember and use both the morning after graduation and 20 years from now.

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Lisa Manente

Lisa Manente

Lisa Manente is a senior at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. She will be graduating with the BA in Media Studies and Communications in May. Editing the Entertainment section for her university’s newspaper and magazine has fueled her passion for entertainment journalism, which is the career path she plans to explore. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling, listening to music, and catching up on celebrity gossip.