College is supposed to be fun.
Dear fellow students: Your two year associate/ community college program has more than one purpose. The degree obtained is almost the smallest part of your endeavor. The initial goal is to transfer you from being a recent high school graduate to higher education in a controlled and supportive environment; and to prepare you for the realities of the outside world. The outside world (at least for most adults) consists of a few crazy things, such as WORK, paying BILLS, RESPONSIBILITIES and other strange things, such as OBLIGATIONS. All things relatively strange to our younger population of students and understandably so. Even if living on campus, eating cafeteria meals and spending a gazillion hours interacting with your fellow student mates, listening to beats or grooming new-found relationships, the main reason for you to be on campus is in the educational opportunity hidden somewhere deep inside of it.
College is there to transfer you from being well taken care of, protected and for sure not left behind, to being a critically thinking, better versed personality who see’s , realizes and seizes opportunities as they are presented. A multitude of clubs and society’s, countless opportunities to grow and expand on volunteerism efforts (on and off campus), networking opportunities, help with career planning, counseling, even psychological counseling services are just one small step away. NOTHING is out of reach. You do not have to rely on a 19 year old’s help and compassion to bail you out of trouble or tell you how smart and beautiful you are. Faculty and Staff (at least at our college @ EMCC in Bangor, Maine) is known to “bend over backwards” for their students, helping where they can to make this all work for you. Even non- traditional students are often available to help, talk to and sit with when life gets a bit turbulent.
Humans love to make things harder than they have to be though and they attract plenty of drama. A curse, likely placed upon us through the size and sheer power of our brains, can hold us from success and cause havoc in terms of how this “everyday grind” is perceived. Over the last ~ 2 years I have had the opportunity to speak with a LOT of students. Lots of younger, incredibly nice and smart individuals and (sure thing) plenty of “lost cases of idiocy”. Here are a few things worth sharing, to help this younger generation of 18-28 year old’s cope with reality.
- If someone tells you that you should seek professional help or counseling, or invites you to talk with them in case of problems, they generally mean it.
- Anti depressant drugs (sadly over prescribed and often based on faulty diagnosis) “usually” treat symptoms, not the underlying cause of the dilemma.
- Emotional distress/ dependency and Servant/ Geisha style submission to respective girl-/boyfriends (however emotionally or even physically abusive they may be) are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem. “Giving yourself to someone” who then goes out and screws you over, is not LOVE. Sorry!
- Seeking the easy way out of a clinch by the use of today’s most favored word: “WHATEVER!” is not generally indicative of well-developed problem solving skills. Neither is smacking into closing doors, while sending life-saving text messages. Shutting your facebook profile down is not a generally understood sign of mental/ emotional distress, it is generally regarded as childish behavior and despite the best intentions, usually remains unnoticed by all the people with 100+ friends.
- Society lives and falls by certain rules and a certain methodology in terms of how these rules are enforced and managed. Resisting any and all rules of courtesy, respect and common sense (such as playing your laptop music over square in a room designated for studying, or having an ultra important cell phone conversation in the middle of the action, for all to hear) is not generally regarded as extremely social nor is it really acceptable in any setting. In fact, professional environments reject and expel such behavior. Normal hygiene, occasionally brushed teeth, hair that doesn’t remind one of last nights french fries, and a dress code that resembles at least a basic sense of human decency can be fully expected, even now, in the baby stages of higher education. Remind yourself that you may be discovered by your future employer on this campus. Also, remember the founder of Facebook? He DEVELOPED it. To this day, he’s not USING it all too much and his life is certainly not defined/ affected by last nights highly emotional declaration of variable relationship statuses.
- Oh… smurfing into a classroom consistently late is definitely not OK! Some of us pay good money and travel rather large distances to attend lectures. If you can’t be on time, don’t be there please. You know you wouldn’t do it at work. Your computer problems, which prevented you from completing assigned work are really (really!) YOUR problem. There’s an old saying: A problem on your part does not constitute an EMERGENCY for us. If you haven’t done the work, accept the grade. It’s not high-school and certainly not kindergarten. Nobody’s going to order you to recess.
Hmmm… all this leaves one string of things to recommend:
Grow in personality, gather new knowledge and skills, interact with your community, be respectful and courteous and don’t ever take people willing to help you succeed for granted. You are not on this planet to serve your current boy or girlfriend and your job is not to be someones option, while allowing them to be your priority. One thing is for sure: Things will change either now or later (I should know after a divorce) and in the end, your partner completes you, he/ she don’t define you. If your goal is to make a difference, stick out of the crowd and actually make one. You know you can, and so do many of us “old people”.