As a kid I remember thinking college would be the coolest stage of life ever. I pictured myself in a red turtleneck sweater and bob haircut chatting with guy friends in my dorm room. I’ve always dreamt big.
My other fantasy about college days was fabricated when I began visiting colleges — St. John’s in Annapolis, University of Chicago, Princeton. On every campus I stepped my little feet, I was greeted with wistful conversation about “the life of the mind” (except at Princeton). This northern collegiate grandeur, coupled with what I had seen from movies like Chariots of Fire and Harry Potter, made me idolize the long nights I would stay awake and the spells — er, literary styles — I would learn. College would be a time of unparalleled academic achievement, and my professors wouldn’t know what hit them! I would be a great thinker! A Rhodes scholar! Then after visiting New York for the first time, I got the idea that I would go to college in Manhattan. That had never occurred to me before. One thing led to another, and here I am, entering my senior year, 11 credits away from a B.A. in English and maybe an Italian minor thrown in for good measure.
Strange thing about college in New York is that there’s so much other stuff to do — shows, coffee shops, strolls in the park, museums. It’s incredibly distracting, and I find myself skimming readings and assembling essays at the last minute instead of dutifully entering the hallowed lobby of Butler Library each day. But I get the impression that students at other schools face the same dilemma. These days, the life of a student is about so much more than studies. We heap on the extra-curriculars to our precious platter of time, adding an extra helping of a capella group here, a leadership position in a sustainability student think tank here, an internship there. And maybe that’s ok. I love my evenings at the newspaper and have realized that this kind of experience at a fairly young age is rare. My involvement in my Christian fellowship has meant a whole lot of growth and a lot more close friends than I would have otherwise.
But my commitment this last year is that I won’t lose sight of the fact that I’m in college, and that school is not something I’ll have forever. Depending on if I’m up for death by masters degree, these may be the last academic papers I’ll ever write, or the last Boccaccio I’ll be assigned (sniff). I want to make it count. I want to suck the marrow out of life, like those boys in that Dead Poet movie. And I kind of want to be told I could be a Rhodes scholar if I wanted.
So as not to steal the glory from a former Spec opinion blogger / Spectrum founder / managing editor extraordinaire, check out this post for more delightful comics like the one above, and banter that’s wittier than that above.