The most important lesson in college is balance and it is not even taught in the classroom.
The party scene is fun and academics are not. That's just the way we as college kids see the world, yet balance is not optional, as a matter of fact it is necessary in this realm and even life.
I know the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about balance in college is the party life and academics. While I believe that one should definitely balance those particular subjects delicately (with less or no partying), this is not the main consideration one should take when thinking about balance on the college level.
I started the previous article about my experience of working off little to no sleep. In that experience I did not stay up the night before because I was out partying, but because I was working on a paper that was due. I was simply testing the theory that I was more effective at night than in the day. Popular belief tells me this isn't a good balance of time, but is it possible that it WAS the best use of time for me?
In the last article we discovered that we are forced to decide between learned ethics and thriving in college, which leads to our careers. We also discussed the idea of balance becoming the essential key and learning factor of one's college career.
But how does this apply now?
In the midst of a thought process gone over a countless number of times, I caught a glimpse of where I was only 4 years ago. I was going through the exact same process of thought - about how knowledge in the classroom is pointless - but this time there was more to think about.
I originally related this thought process to my change of majors. Being in communication, I argued, has taught me to think on the deeper things in life, has taught me to theorize and claim concepts I never could've imagined.
When thinking about my lack of sleep, for example. I took the idea of working hard and working on less hours and this time instead of just doing it for fun, I tested the idea of my productivity. You can call it trying to justify my actions or finding a reason to be lazy if you want, but this was the start of a whole new world for me.
As I thought deeper about the ideas that the communication major has taught me, I begin to ask even more questions. I processed through what communication has taught me in comparison to my overall college learning experience. I have not yet had time to ask other majors about what they have experienced, but I began to realize it wasn't what being a comm major has taught me, rather what college has taught me through communication.
I've found that it's not solely from comm classes that I've learned to come up with theories and test them on a small scale. I believe that this is exactly what college, as a whole, is intended for. College teaches us and gives us the ability to think for ourselves.
What then happens to our previous thoughts and concepts? And it is this very balance of foundational knowledge and new concepts that college students and graduates will wrestle with forever.
This is seen as I might have been able to think about staying up all night every night as a high school student but being under someone else's roof limits my ability to go through and test a theory I find could be helpful to me, and rightly so. The college experience is about not only thinking about things but having the ability to test them.
You will mess your life up if you try any and everything when getting to college, but you must choose what is a good idea to test and what is not.
I grew up in a traditional southern baptist home - which may or may not be as strict as you might think. I was definitely warned and made aware of the fact that 'evolution could be poured into me' and that 60% of college students turn away from Christianity (this stat from http://www.ministertoyouth.com/?p=254). Although I never wavered in my faith, I did not understand what this meant until recently.
I understood that no one is perfect, I understood that there are different interpretations when it comes to deep passages of the Bible but only recently understood the challenge of deciding what to take from and leave at home when I departed. As discussed earlier you cannot simply turn and forget everything you've learned but at the same time you can't keep everything that you know. There has to be a balance.
An enlightenment approached me and I saw that college is no different from the books we read, the movies we go to, or the video games we play. These are the very things we must watch out for.
I'm not going to say you should hide in a hole and not enjoy life, as many would call it, but you should be well aware of the subtle messages you find in college.
The college experience is exactly like the clothes we wear, the music we listen to, the movies and tv shows we watch and the video games we play. These are all in common because they subconsciously teach you how to view life. Yea, one video game or movie won't change your whole life, but when you look how America is structured today many things and ideas of life can be related to what we have viewed and watched. It has been quoted over and over that if you are told something over and over you will eventually believe it or that it will become truth and that is the underlying theme. What you are taught in college may not be explicitly told to you, but you subconsciously learn "how to live" All over again.
This can best be related to how a commercial works. Commercials use enthymeme's to get you to buy what they're selling, pun intended. However, they want you to feel that you came up with this idea on your own. For example, Axe will show you a guy that sprays it all over his body then show you a lot of girls around that same guy getting you to infer that if you buy Axe you will get any girl you want.
College is the exact same way. College gets young minds to take classes and shows us those successful in life that have degrees ranging from bachelor's to doctorates. It infers that if you will take these classes you will be successful. This is all good and exciting, but it only touches the surface.
When you can achieve the idea of thinking for yourself and coming to your own conclusions then you have grasped the major lesson that college wants to teach you.
This is not so plainly wrapped up in an easy to get enthymeme, yet when you look at the successful and brilliant minds that have graduated from college one thing you find in common with them all is they all have innovative and creative minds. They found a way to make their ideas come to light in a way no one else had before.
This is why balance in college is important. College brings awareness outside of subjects and themes that you are used to and balance is only possible when you are fully aware of both sides of the scale. I don't say fully aware lightly.
Entering college I was well versed on my beliefs and understood exactly why I believed it and all of a sudden college ideologies that I've been taught were creeping in on my thought territory. And it is only when you learn to rationally determine the correct way to blend both together (whether 100/0 50/50 0/100 or anywhere in between), that you are able to rise to your full potential
The best learners and people of balance are the ones who understand this concept, are fully aware of what they believe, as well as know how to decipher what the best and most accurate knowledge is.
Three years after my daily routine of working off less than 4 hours a day, I am not able to take it any longer. I start sleeping through morning activities for the corps, schoolwork begins to drop and this habit that I came into college with seems to be detrimental.
I found out that going even a couple of years without the 'minimum amount of sleep needed' and knowing what productivity looks like can work to one's advantage, but in the end it will catch up with you. I'm not saying it's not productive, I'm just saying I learned that balance is essential whether coming from your learning experience or getting a full night's rest