That is a big sigh of relief. Not that I didn’t expect to graduate, but when your last big college semester is 18 credits of upper level English courses, you can’t help but feel discouraged most of the time. I’m quite proud to say that despite the massive amount of difficulty I faced this semester, I came out with excellent grades.
I learned a lot over the past five years (don’t hate, sometimes it takes people longer than four when they switch their major a lot!). I learned American Sign Language and about Deaf culture. I was the Executive Director for the Conservative Women’s Movement on campus and truly learned about discrimination and unfair treatment of conservatives in education. I had an interesting seminar course on anthropological linguistics. I was exposed to 19th century mystery novels. I had enough Psych courses to interest me in Ed Psych for a possible grad program. I learned about William Blake and what a talented and crazy man he was. Most importantly, I learned that you don’t have to read the book to write the paper or religiously attend class – even when attendance is a grade factor (unless you will die without an A… then you might want to continue not having a life outside of the university.)
Despite doing well, I actually disliked most of my classes this semester. The subtitle for one Lit course was “mystery, suspense and the supernatural”. I was pretty excited to read the chosen novels, until I actually picked one up from the bookstore and opened it. It was hundreds of pages of *b o r i n g*. So, I turned to my trusty Google and found online summaries and notes for all of the obscure titles that Sparknotes didn’t have. I didn’t read a single book for that class. My grade was a B+. Why? Because I’m an excellent paper writer and I strategically attended the important classes. Of course, attendance was part of the grade for the course and yet, I managed to show up just enough to hear key paper ideas from classmates and the professor and to participate enough to show that I know what I’m talking about.
That mentality followed me to other courses this semester, as well. I learned that sitting in class is not really that important and if you can find the information and retain it and say something profound about it, you will never struggle in school. It baffles me that some students attend class like it’s their job and can’t take a test or write a paper to save their life.
College is about strategy. Recently, my husband asked what the point of my degree is if I just plan on being a housewife soon. Whether I get a 9-5 job or work in my home, the strategies I learned from my education will carry throughout my life. I learned how to be creative and crafty in my research methods. (Smart consumers do research!) I learned how to say something smart about topics I don’t care about in the required amount of words. (Perfect prep for small talk with grown-ups I don’t like or know) I learned how to pay attention to important things and forget unimportant things. (Like blocking my husband out when he talks to me -ha ) I mastered the art of writing an intelligent paper with limited information or provoking thoughts. (Like the convincing letters I may have to write to get my children excused from things or to negotiate billing and other issues with insurance companies.) Those are all priceless tools.
Congratulations champ! I’m proud of you and I’m glad you finally made it! Now you can concentrate *real* things like getting to level 80! :P
It seems there are a couple of different ways to approach the college workload. Some people, as you did, are successful in learning the strategy, and others seem to just smash their head against books until they actually acquired the knowledge. I’ve seen both ways work, however the former seems to be the most time efficient, provided you’re in a field that allows it.
In art, the ones who learned the “strategy” could put up a piece of crap and be able to talk eloquently enough, or make enough art-historical references, or bring up some controversial topic in order to divert the critique away from their craftsmanship… I preferred bash my head against the canvas until something cool-looking came out, (clearly not the most efficient way to work).
Grats on successfully learning the college “meta-game.” I’ll be interested to see what you write when you have the freedom to delve into craft/knowledge of whatever you choose, (though a little bit of bs never hurts :]).
You did it! Way to go. what are your life plans now? Besides, you know, being awesome?