“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain
When my editor asked me to write a special column for the orientation edition, I wanted to say no. I am on summer vacation and would rather spend my time taking a short break from writing columns than writing an article that I imagine most people are not going to read.
But then I thought about it, said yes, and went for a walk to think about what I would write about.
I realize my article is going to be read by students looking to kill time while the administrative bigwigs drone on and on about how the huge amount of money you just paid for tuition just helped them put a down payment on a new Mercedes … I mean, helped plant the seeds for the next step in your educational journey.
Here is something those administrators won’t tell you: You will only learn 25 percent of what you need to know at Boston University. That 25 percent happens in the classroom. So where does the rest of the learning happen? Outside of the classroom.
For students who just left high school, this may sound ludicrous. In high school, there is no need to learn outside of the classroom. You were working towards a diploma. In college, you are working towards a successful future.
A successful future means a lot of hard work to get there. If you are a journalism major like me, a majority of your education will take place practicing writing articles and reading newspapers and books. If you are an art history major, you should be spending countless hours in museums and looking through the folios on the 2nd floor of Mugar.
Your classes are important but they are only the base of your education. The questions you should ask your teachers are not whether they can change your grade but rather, “What should I do or read to become a better (insert job here)?” This admittance of ignorance and wanting to improve should not be looked upon as a failure but rather a victory. Your teachers will love that you are trying to be the best in your field.
Your education is in your hands. Unlike high school there is no hand holding at BU. You can go to every class and do every assignment but you still might not be ready for whatever job you get after college.
As a final note, the tuition you paid is less of a payment and more of a gamble. I didn’t write this article to scare people. I wrote this article because we share a generation and I want our collective future to be full of great accomplishments. But those accomplishments will take a lot of challenging work.
I should have written this next statement at the beginning of the article before I scared you.
Congratulations on making it into Boston University. As a transfer student and a constant traveler to other universities, I can tell you BU is a great choice. Enjoy your freshman year. Final piece of advice: don’t drink on Tuesdays. It is always a bad decision … especially if you have a midterm on Wednesday.