What Do You Learn From College?

When you first went to college, did you have any idea what it would be like? Did you know what to expect?

My first year of college was great, and probably better than I expected. I met great friends, lived on a beautiful campus in Biddeford, Maine, and had fun classes. The downside was that I didn't know which career path to pursue. Should I undertake Medical Biology, Exercise Science, or maybe Writing or Nutrition? I couldn't decide what I wanted to do, and that was a problem.

If you're like me, you'd consider yourself a multi-passionate person. There are lots of things that I love, and lots of things that I wanted to pursue as a college student. For a long time, I considered this a weakness. 

By the end of the year, I felt that I was wasting time and money. Unfortunately, college isn't the best place to "try out" the different fields you might enjoy. I learned that college is an expensive way to learn about your likes and dislikes. As I jumped from Medical Biology to Athletic Training to Exercise Science, I grew tired of changing my mind. I was ready to stick to something.

Over the summer, I transferred to another school, the University of Maine at Orono, which was significantly less expensive than my initial university of choice. I decided to pursue Journalism and French as a double major. There was no more mind-changing. And so, in 2012, I completed my degree.

In hindsight, some of the most valuable lessons I learned from my college experience had nothing to do with academics. These lessons helped me to understand that being prepared, and being prepared to be flexible, is essential because life doesn’t always pan out as expected. I hope that some of these tips will help you as you pursue your college degree:

  • Don’t feel ‘stuck’ on one path. Be flexible to new opportunities.

  • Job shadow and intern. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn (for free) about what type of work you might enjoy. And do it early!

  • Be open to new changes and opportunities. Life doesn’t always go the way you expect.

  • Don’t be afraid to try new things. If there’s a subject that interests you, take a class on it.

  • Do research on schools, majors, and programs before you apply. Know what you’re getting into, and have standards. 

  • Have a larger vision in mind. Ask yourself hard questions:  Who do I want to be? What kind of impact do I want to have in the world? How can I make a difference? What work will bring me the most fulfillment? 

Take care,