For the Grads…

Just a note to those soon to head off to college.

College is not the “real” world. What they teach you there may have little or no congruence to the actual world you will enter when you leave. A large amount of what you learn in college you will forget, some of it you should forget, and the rest will probably be rendered obsolete.

If you understand this you can make the best of your time in college and learn the one lesson that is most important without costing you $50 K a year. That lesson is that you will always be a learner and the skills you develop in college as a learner, provided the people who instruct you also have them, will actually make a difference in your real life. If you know how to learn, that is be genuinely inquisitive, test information, and remain curious to the possibilities of knowledge you will do well because you will need those skills in every endeavor. You will need those skills in the years after college because jobs change and your career path will have many twists and turns. You will also, depending on the field you choose, need to spend some time after college “unlearning” the things you were taught at the University because those who can’t do often teach and no where is this more true than academia.  If you develop as a learner you will do well. Otherwise you’ll just have a degree.

Please be real, as well,  about what you want to do with your education. A degree in “gender studies” is a ticket to a post college career as a barista unless you happen to be one of the very few well-connected people who can find a job that actually requires those skills. Some of you shouldn’t even go to a liberal arts university or college because you would be better suited, and eventually much better paid, to go to a technical college or school where they more often than not actually do train you for something that works outside the classroom. We have these dreamy ideas about college but eventually you’ll have to walk out of the ivy covered buildings and into a place where people actually expect to be paid real money for food, shelter, and stuff. Keep that in mind as you browse the class catalog.

Finally, despite the temptations, keep your moral integrity and keep your faith.  You can be potentially blessed or scarred for life by the choices that you make in college free of the safety of your parent’s home.  It’s a heady time to be out there and on your own in a world of ideas but there can be a dark side and your faith will help you make sense of it all. It’s good to be smart, but its better to be wise and the fear, that is the deep respect, of God is the beginning of wisdom.  Make learning about God and being part of His Church an integral part of your education. Remember that your Orthodox Faith is not so much about saying “No” to things but rather saying “Yes” to better things.

Lecture’s over. I had lots of fun in college and found it to be way more interesting than high school. When I retire I plan to go back and get one of those impractical degrees like Anthropology just because it would be cool. I met my wife in college and that alone was more than worth the cost of tuition.  I learned a lot of good things way back when at Bemidji State University and the memories have endured. Make the best of it, love God, and so will you.

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