All it's cracked up to be?
August 27, 2012 11:02 AM Subscribe
The college experience: How important is it really, and other questions.
posted by Urban Winter to education (40 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Since I was 16 I desperately wanted to go away to college. Now, at 22 and a junior-year commuter student, I feel that I'm missing out on something that could really help me grow as a person. I'm getting the education, but working and going to school makes me feel that I've skipped the stage of being a young adult, and have gone directly to the part where I'm an adult in continuing education. I'll have my whole life to work and do other things at the same time, but I've only got a few years tops before I'm that guy who's probably too old to be in this college bar.
Maybe I'm overrating the whole experience though. I really don't know. I can only go on what I see. Everyone I know who went away to college changed significantly and for the better - became more outgoing, more self-assured, and generally just grew as people. Those I know who didn't... Well, they're still just the people I knew in highschool, only older. (For what it's worth, I really don't think this observation is the result of bias, though of course I have no way to prove that.)
I missed my adolescence; due to family troubles conveniently placed between the ages of 13 and 17, I was a social recluse for years with few to no friends, and only opened up later in community college. I don't want my young adulthood to pass me by because I had to work. I've already worked from age 16 onwards, and for the most part it was because I chose to do so. Now, faced with the possibility that I might have to work, and miss out on a very important part of development because of it, I feel sad and maybe a little bitter.
How important is the college experience, really? Is it possible to get it despite being a commuter student? Does going away to grad school give the same experience? Should I just shut up and take my adulthood on the proverbial cheek, and hope that I can find more enjoyment in the working world without looking back with regret?
For the record, I'm not talking about the part of school that happens in the classroom, but about everything else outside that one-to-three-hour time block.