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December 8 2016

Wander into College Lusting for More

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Published with permission from L. Cohen

Despite what parents and academic advisors typically explain, college is more than aiming for a 4.0 GPA and living in the library for four years. The time spent in the realm of higher education is for developing oneself through challenging experiences and the seizing of opportunities, and while college classes are challenging to textbook knowledge, they are not challenging to global understanding.

The truth about college is that it’s a gateway to success, and not because of the courses. It’s the gateway because there will never be a more prime time in life to take advantage of opportunities and learn as much as possible about the world and the cultures composing it. Wandering from classroom to classroom may help students learn the fundamentals of a profitable career, but not the fundamentals of a profitable life.

Higher education is incredibly important; however, it is not the end-all, be-all of success. Instead of treating college as an advanced high school that leads to success, treat is as a gateway to experience. Everyone has wanderlust within his or her soul, and college is the time to wander the world in the pursuit of more knowledge.

Most colleges and universities offer study abroad trips, travel studies, and internships that can truly expand one’s mind and offer experiences that aren’t available elsewhere. After graduation, the working world officially sets in and bills become the biggest tariff on experiencing life, so there is no better time than the present to see the world.

While many students say they don’t have time or money to travel the world and globalize their mindsets, the truth is that those students simply fail to see its relevance as a priority. No matter how many books are read, lessons are taught, and courses are aced, none of it matters if one cannot relate that knowledge to the real world. Living within a culture and reading about a culture are two completely different concepts, and one simply cannot make a full impact on one’s mentality without the other.

Instead of loading up on coursework in an attempt to graduate early or spending every cent on eating Chipotle and Dominoes, save that money for a global experience. Use those few dollars to sign up for an immersion experience, to fly somewhere new over the winter break, or drive to North Dakota to see the NODAPL movement firsthand. This is the time to not just read history, but experience it. Take control of the future by taking control of the present and learn what it means to live. A college education only takes one as far as he or she is willing to travel.

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