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Recently, I was listening to a morning radio show. The on air personality was discussing the relevance of having a degree in today’s society. He facetiously stated, “I’m happy I went to college, but honestly, I can’t say that I’m using the majority of the stuff I learned in class.”

While the radio show’s host was partially joking, I think his statement is indicative of a pathology that so many people possess about college, which is: “you go to college to learn.”

While that statement is true, one factor that is often disregarded is that a good portion of the things that impact your life in college will happen OUTSIDE of the classroom. If you truly want to maximize your college experience, you’ll have to look beyond those four walls.

Here are some tips that may be helpful:

1. Get Involved – Not only is college a time to explore things academically, but it’s also a great time to explore your likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses. A key way to hone in on that is to get involved in extracurricular activities. You’ll learn how to work with different personalities and how to turn ideas into tangible results. Taking a political science class is cool, but I can guarantee that a position in student government or a leadership role in an organization will teach you far more about a bureaucratic system.

2. Be A Teacher’s Pet – Yes, I know it sounds silly, but hear me out. In high school, being a teacher’s pet could have gotten you clowned and/or blacklisted.  In college, it can only help you. Visit your professors during their office hours. If you’re having a tough time in a class, take the opportunity to get some extra help.  If you’re doing well in the class, this would be an ideal time to gain a mentor and make a connection that may potentially lead to more opportunities.

3. Socialize – Seems simple enough right? Talk to people. Ask questions. Go to campus events. There is quite a lot that you can learn from interacting with your peers. In many cases, people will not only be at your school from all parts of the country, but also from many parts of the world. Socializing will give you the opportunity to learn about other cultures, a chance to network, and most importantly, it’ll help you foster potential life-long relationships. Many of your classmates may go on to be CEOs, doctors, lawyers, politicians, or award-winning entertainers. The connections you make today could open doors for you in the future.

4. Hustle Hard – I’m not much of a rap connoisseur, but I’ll agree with Ace Hood and vouch for the fact that “closed mouths don’t get fed on this boulevard” (or campus).  Sometimes you’ll have to talk your way in, and out, of some situations. Working under pressure, thinking quickly, and problem resolution are definitely skills you will have to adopt if you want to make it out of college successfully. Sometimes you will have to go half on a textbook with a classmate to cut corners. Or what about when that ONE class that you need to graduate is full to capacity? Or when you have 79.9 percent in a class, but you need a B to balance out your GPA and keep your scholarship? You better get to hustling…and quickly.

Essentially, when you make the decision to enroll in a college, you aren’t just signing up for courses, you are signing up for experiences.

If you’re like a huge percentage of graduates today, you may end up obtaining a job in a field that is completely different from your major in school. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll be unequipped for the job. The life skills, social experiences, and personal development that you gain from college will benefit you just as much, if not more, than what you will learn in a classroom.

College is whatever you make of it. I suggest taking advantage of as many opportunities as you can. College is expensive. You might as well get your money’s worth.

Give H.O.P.E. Live H.O.P.E.

Kenya D. Morris
Guest Blogger

About the Author

Kenya D. Morris is a communications professional who hails from Los Angeles and currently resides of Washington D.C. As a self-proclaimed “life enthusiast”, she prides herself in learning, exploring, and taking advantage of new opportunities daily.  When she isn’t busy writing poetry, performing in dramatic productions, doing make up, or focusing on women’s outreach, you can probably find her screaming at her TV over a Lakers or Cowboys game, eating dessert, or tweeting her life away. More info can be found at www.kenyad.com.