More Than a Piece of Paper: What You Get Out of College Besides a Degree

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College is about a lot of experiences: living without mom, making some cringe-worthy mistakes and of course, getting an education. For all the work that goes into getting that precious degree, you should have a lot to take away as you walk across that stage and accept the reward. What exactly are those perks? They might be different for everyone, but the universal truth is college isn’t only about Shakespeare and bio.

You learn to Look Ahead

“I have to admit that sometimes I do feel homesick, but I’m trying to think of it as taking one step closer to a bigger world. I have more alone time, so I really think about my identity. I also found out that I have to believe in myself and stick to the path that I’ve chosen.” –Yujin Oh, sophomore, Duke University

My classes contribute to my degree, but I enjoy them because they contribute to what I want to do for a living.” –Tyler*, sophomore, Boston College

Keeping your sights on the future might be just what you need to get through that lengthy midterm essay that’s worth 30% of your grade. Remember why you’re here and what comes after the craziness of college: You find the job meant for you (and go to alum weekends like a real adult).

You Learn to Organize Yourself

“Without parents to control my schedule, I thought I’d fall apart my first year. I definitely struggled, but I got it together.” –Izzy Mueller, sophomore, Boston College

“Kids get time management and interpersonal relations. When you live on your how you can do anything but you can’t do everything. College teaches you how to get as close to everything as possible, though.” –Sarah Whalen, sophomore, Boston College

Living alone is an adventure in itself, especially when you’re learning how to live alone while in the company of other clueless college students. As daunting as it may seem at first, there is light at the end of the tunnel you’ll stumble through. You’ll figure out how to clean an apartment, balance a (tight) budget and juggle a full schedule.

You Learn to Keep Swimming

“I think I’ve learned how to keep myself composed and fully mentally engaged during situations that are uncomfortable or emotionally taxing. Whether that may be talking to a teacher about a bad grade, suggestions about an essay, your roommates about turning the lights off or the music down, completing your first interview or networking an event.” –Lindsay, sophomore, Boston College

You’ll go through some trying times in your first years playing adult. That’s natural, and you’ll master how to deal with the occasional meltdown or awkward situation. When you’ve never lived with a roommate before and have to confront them about walking around without pants on, it will feel weird and scary. But they’re just a student like you, and you’ll thank yourself for speaking up when you can go in your living room with your eyes open. College studies are a step up from high school, and learning to handle it is half the battle. Remember to look up from your textbook and you’ll be just fine.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.

Katherine is a sophomore studying secondary education and English at Boston College. She is a lover of reading, quoting movies, and never met a cup of coffee she didn't like.

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