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College: Beyond the Lecture

January 24, 2014 by Stephanie Stanislao

I did it. I am a college graduate.

It has been over a month since I crossed the stage at the Bison Sports Arena, collected my diploma holder and took countless pictures wearing my hideous graduation attire (You have to be super smart to graduate, but, boy, does that mortar board make a person look stupid!). In the past few days, I have had a great deal of time to reflect. I learned a lot in college.

Through new experiences, both good and bad, I can say that my four and a half years spent on NDSU’s campus have taught me more than how to write a 30-pages research paper or how to study for an exam. My time as a college student was much more than the homework I turned in, more than the classes I attended.

I learned that:

Being self-sufficient is important.

Heartache is not permanent, but it does leave an awful lot of scars.

Homesickness doesn’t disappear with age (at least it hasn’t for me).

Laundry doesn’t wash itself, and that having a roll of quarters on-hand, at all times, is an absolute must.

Sometimes sleep is more important than socializing.

Setting goals is not enough…you have to follow through with said goals.

Any life lesson can pretty much be seen through the eyes of Kevin Arnold (Thank goodness for “The Wonder Years”).

It’s okay to be 23, unmarried (unattached, for that matter) and still figuring things out.

Not everyone is  like me–and that’s okay.

About 90 percent of what my parents taught me, while I was growing up, is true (although, you can be sure, I would have never believed it at age 18).

It’s important not to accept everything (or everyone for that matter) at face-value.

The “freshman 15” seems to turn into the “mid-twenties 30.”

College isn’t really like animal house (which, in my opinion, is a shame, I was hoping for some Belushi moments during my college career. Oh well).

Pizza can be eaten any time of day–breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snack…if it’s available, do what any red-blooded American college student would do–EAT THE PIZZA.

Having a signature dance move is almost as important as eating breakfast…ALMOST (it is the most important meal of the day, you know).

In addition to a signature dance move, one must also have a go-to karaoke song (“Friend’s in Low Places,” anyone?)

Couponing isn’t just for your grandma anymore… so clip those coupons girlfrannn (saving money is so awesome).

“Lol” should never be used… EVER. You can go ahead and add “totes,” “adorbs” and other abbreviated words to that. If you can’t say the whole word, then  you probably shouldn’t speak (tough love, I know).

A proper handshake should always be used.

Exercise is beneficial for the body, mind and soul. This does not always mean running countless miles or doing sit-ups til you can’t breath.  A simple walk sometimes will do.

Water is good. For many reasons. Too many to list in fact. So, just remember, WATER IS GOOD.

Practicing the art of “leftover-creativity” is one of the most useful tools one will ever learn. Being wasteful is hard on your pocketbook and down-right stupid. Instead of throwing away last night’s dinner get fancy with that leftover mac ‘n cheese.

Having a sense of humor and being able to laugh at yourself is key.

Most importantly, embracing who you are–the good, the bad and the funny is the only way to be 100 percent truly happy.

So, like I said, college wasn’t just receiving an education in the classroom. No, for me it was much, much more. It was a time to grow, mature and learn who I was.  I still have a lot to learn, but I have to admit, I’ve gotten a great start.

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