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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Column: College outside the lecture hall

College is much more than just four years of classes, midterms and essays. I have spent the better part of my senior year reflecting on my college career and that is the only certainty I have come up with so far. Let me explain.

For most, the goal of college is to receive a degree in a field of study in the hopes of landing a job. That’s all fine and dandy, but I have always felt that college should prepare you for life, not just for a career. And life will not always be inside a classroom (well, unless you’re a teacher), so why should education start and end there?

So in hopes of better preparing you for life after college, I have one pearl of wisdom I wish to pass on to you – your experiences outside of the classroom are as important to your education as your time in the lecture halls.

Join an organization on campus. Rush a fraternity or a sorority. Write for your college newspaper. Do something besides studying and writing essays because life is more than just As, Bs and Cs. Those experiences you will have will teach you valuable life skills that you never thought you might acquire.

For example, I joined my fraternity, Sigma Nu, in my sophomore year. I can say with utter confidence that it was one of the best decisions of my life. No, it was not all about drinking and partying. We also did work. I held multiple leadership positions and I learned how to run meetings, make decisions, delegate – skills I will need in the corporate world.

I can honestly say I learned more applicable knowledge to the business world in my fraternity in two years than my four years at UC Davis. And not only that, I gained numerous lifelong friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. This experience can be the same for you – you just need to make that leap of faith.

Now, I’m not saying ditch all of your classes for these outside experiences. As a student, you have the responsibility to attend class, especially if you plan on having a career in your major. But life is all about balance, and balancing work with play is definitely something everyone needs in his or her life.

With so much freedom and little responsibility, take charge of your college experience. College is one of the most unique times of your life. It’s the time to figure out what you like, who you are and all that jazz. Take advantage of it because real life won’t give you the time.

It took me four years to figure all of this out. If there’s one thing I regret as graduation looms in the distance, it’s not taking advantage of all the potential opportunities I had. So, please, I implore you: make the most of your college experience.

As this will be my last piece in The Aggie, I wanted to take the time to thank the people who have been there in my life: my parents who have supported me in all of my endeavors, my best friend Chris who can’t even fathom the tremendous impact he has made on my life, my beautiful girlfriend Kimi, my fraternity brothers and all of my friends. Without you all, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

NICK MARKWITH tried to avoid getting all sentimental at the end, but couldn’t help it. If you feel the same way about your loved ones, let him know at features@theaggie.org.

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