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The College Experience (Part 1)

Updated on January 30, 2016
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Tests - Trials of College

We all know the general formula for passing a test, study hard and if you don't understand the material then go ask for help. What if you do understand the material, however you second guess yourself while taking the exam? This has become a reoccurring problem for me, as I just got back my second exam grade for my chemistry class. I failed. I wont sugarcoat it, I'm disappointed in myself. Especially when I did a problem that was the spitting image of the one I got axed on perfectly. Tests are measured to gauge our understanding of the course, which that's what they are meant to do. Do tests really ensure you can perform your job in the real world accurately and to the highest of standards? No. Tests are merely trials in the "college experience" to weed out the smart students from the rest.

Many of you will come to the assumption by now that I'm just another stupid college student, who just doesn't prioritize his time which leads to failing your exams. How come I'm doing well in the labs and homework then, that are more hands and with a set time duration? While my lab partner doesn't do well with the lab reports, yet does well on his exams. Personally I feel testing someone's knowledge with real world scenarios would be far fruitful then any standardized test. Is the goal of tests to merely make those that do well on them feel like egotistic jerks, and damn those who don't do well to shame and masked embarrassment?

Hidden Shunning in the Classroom

Today was the first time I witnessed this. It was as if I was at the Gatsby's house, with everyone blabbering about how good they did on their test. Congratulations! You just proved you're narcissistic, why not take a bow and dance to pomp and circumstance while you're at it. Is this being too mean or expecting too much out of adults, though young, to have the common curiosity to not brag about what they got, when there are people who just want to forget about the test in general?

The final nail in the coffin was when our instructor though trying to put the scores aside, went into a problem and skipped a major step saying, "...you guys don't need to do this, if you're slower then I understand" I nearly fell out of my seat when I heard this. Seeing the expressions of many of his classmates he quickly corrected himself saying, "I didn't mean that to offend anyone, I'm truly sorry" Before I would hold that against someone, now I use the famed motto "Forgive and Forget" which I'll admit is more harder to do when you hear things like that.

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Pen of the Sword?

The pen is in most cases mightier then the sword. Who wields the pen determines its might. Why all the metaphors you may ask? These saying aren't ambiguous or just sayings to just go in one ear then out the other, they're lessons. These lessons helped me realize after reflecting on my testing experience, which is greater; having straight A's on tests and failing to demonstrate your practice in public, or doing okay on tests and being able to show your peers your ability to display your practice? I choose the latter, I would rather be happy in life with my soon to be wife, then be filled with misery and stress because of the autonomous machine were put into called work.

Knowledge is power, those who have it reign supreme while those who don't glamour to obtain it. Having the knowledge to perform a task to the best standards is vital. Knowing what bubble to circle isn't. We as a society place too much emphasis on tests. Would it really be that bad to forego them, and just do simulations? Even the smartest people in history bombed tests, but they went on to reshape our world the way we know it today. So tell me again why we put so much weight of a student’s grade on tests, when that really only helps the schools continue to receive government funding?

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The Value of a College Degree

College isn’t what it used to be. The importance of studies, and enriching one’s life through college has been replaced by; drinking, midnight adventures, pregnancy, wild parties, and skipping classes and test to roll with the “crew”. This is coming from a 19 year-old male if I may add, yet I don’t see these experiences if you can even call them that, as fun. What’s fun about this? The fact that you blew thousands upon thousands of dollars to drinking games and pre-marriage sex? Maybe because I see life not being about making yourself cooler in an attempt to fit in with society’s preconceived values. I wouldn’t want to hear about my children getting in trouble with the police, all because of a stupid college prank or “initiation” into a fraternity. All of these are examples of what I think about with my own college experience, as I’ve stated before I have a girlfriend who I want to make my wife sometime next year. While researching more on this topic as a whole I came across a TED Talk, here’s what transpired:

Question: Is College really as important as our society today has made it out to be?

Colin asked, “I'm a freshman in high school. My guidance counselors and teachers basically say tell me if I don't go to college my life will be miserable. I want to live a simple life. I have figured it out. I know that may seem weird, but that is what I want. I want to live in a small apartment with not much in it and just enjoy the small things in life. Is college actually necessary to succeed at all in life?”

The first response from Clay was arranged in 5 points;

  1. EXPERIENCE. The experience of college is the learning experience of independence, responsibility and life.

  2. HOW TO LEARN. It isn’t as important to what you learn, or what you study in college. What you get out of going to college is a process on how to learn.

  3. DEGREE. Yes, some professions require that you have a degree or a certificate that proves that you have been exposed to some level of study and achieved some level of proficiency in a particular subject.

  4. MEANING & PURPOSE. Through the activities that you do while in college with friendships that you develop will define who you are and what you will become in life. From study group midnight trips to Denny’s (my first born daughter is named after a group partner in college) to drinking parties and getting sick in someone’s yard that you don’t know (still a funny story 20 years later), these will make who you are in the future.

  5. SENTIMENT. Your college life will give you powerful stories to share throughout your life and give you feelings of pride, happiness, regret, and even sadness that you can share with people that will come into your life in the future.

Another commenter by the pseudonym RN said that college is a decision that you and only you can decide whether or not to go to college. College I agree is an opportunity to find yourself, and who you want to become in the future. I’m not saying college is an utter waste, there’s some pros and cons to going and not. The question that you have to ask yourself, and I would like you to watch the video below in full, that if you choose to go to college know that it will be tough financially as well as mentally and physically demanding. Take this advice from a second year college student at community college.



College: Is It Worth The Stress and Debt?

How was your college experience?

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