Go To College, Cut Class: Those Who Skip Class May Get The Better Education
There are two ways to view education in this world. I’m not saying this to sound profound, poetic or because I want a deep opening paragraph. I’m saying it because that’s how the Oxford Dictionary defines it.
In the Oxford Dictionary, education has two definitions.
1. The process of receiving or giving systemic instruction, especially at a school or university.
2. An enlightening experience.
The first sounds like your average view of school with classes, teachers, mess halls and dark libraries for study halls. The second sounds something closer to what the Tibetan monks experience. Your parents will most likely treat your education with the gusto of the first definition.
As your parents, they view college as an investment, and rightly so. It’s probably the most expensive investment they’ll ever make and you’ll ever receive.
It’s the four most expensive years of your life, with the instate tuition averaged at $22,826 a year and private institutions starting at $44,750 a year (College Data).
This luxurious stay at your four-year institution will cost your parents, you or your loan officer a grand total of anywhere between $91,304 and $179,000.
Thus, every minute should be utilized, every class appreciated and every page read. It’s an investment for your future and wasting your time means throwing away thousands of dollars. Every dropped GPA point could be a job lost and salary dollar denied.
Your parents will tell you to go to class, study hard and earn your degree. They will tell you to take extra courses and get a minor. They will advise you to spend your extra money on tutors and study courses, leaving college with the highest possible GPA your expensive mind can muster.
They will tell you to treat it like the systemic process it is. And they have that right. Without their money and advice, we wouldn’t have the opportunity so many are denied: the right to education.
What your parents won’t tell you, however, is that part of that education sometimes includes skipping class. What you and your parents may have forgotten, after being blinded by the thousands of dollars rapidly pouring out of your savings, is that college is about finding who you are and what you want.
It’s a spiritual experience that encompasses aspects outside of the classroom. If you are ever going to achieve both definitions of the word, you can’t spend all your time behind walls.
An enlightening experience is one that alters your life more profoundly than a grade. It involves an inner harmony you've probably never experience before, when your mind and your heart are one and you can see things clearly. It’s a discovery within yourself that drives you to new directions and undiscovered passions.
Skipping class doesn’t mean refusing education, it means choosing how you define what type of education you are receiving, or when you start to define it under the second definition
It could mean skipping class to sit in on another one. It could also mean skipping for a protest that is going to make history, history that will prompt you to study that of those before you.
It could mean skipping to attend a guest lecture, maybe by some professional who is going to inspire and ignite some kind of unearthed passion in you. It could also mean just watching Netflix for a day because you have the grades and need some time off.
Taking the spontaneous moment to discover a person, a club or path you may have never noticed makes your education an experience, not just a systemic process.
Because as much as college is about taking the time to learn, it’s about taking the time to give yourself room to explore… away from your parents and the teachers.
Away from the wants everyone told you to have, and the goals they told you to achieve. For the first time, you have the space to let your mind wander and explore the encompassing experience of academia. It’s these discoveries that will lead to your enlightenment, something that should come before achieving that diploma.
Like so many of our choices up to this point, don’t just look at the monetary value of this experience. Stop seeing it as an investment rather than an opportunity.
Do not deprive yourself one of the most honest and real experiences there is to gain in the last four years of the academic playground you’ve been privileged to play in.
Because there are regrets we all leave college with, whether we’re ready to admit to them or not, and I can promise you that lost chances at exploration and enlightenment will haunt you more than a C in Econ 202.
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