Accidental Education

Tomorrow, I will begin my final semester of my undergraduate career. It’s been a difficult, but rewarding, journey. As I was preparing for the final stretch in my quest for the coveted Bachelor’s degree, I decided to reflect back on the past three-and-a-half years of my life, and I realized something: I’ve actually learned a lot.

This may not come as a surprise to you. You’re probably thinking, “Of course you learned something! That’s what you went to college for.” But that’s honestly not the case. I didn’t enroll in college to learn. That wasn’t my goal at all. In fact, I hoped that I wouldn’t have to learn anything while I was there. When I started college, I thought I was there to get a degree. But what I got was so much better.

During my time at college, I have received—completely by accident—an education. I have a solid base of knowledge in a wide array of subjects that I never would have learned about had I not taken basic classes in them, which means I am capable of having an educated conversation with someone on many topics I never dreamed of. And I have received specialized training in two subjects (Religious Studies and Psychology) so that I can interact with professionals in those areas and hopefully someday contribute to them. I’ve learned an in-depth set of skills, vocabulary, and etiquette in these two area, and that’s something I never imagined I’d achieve.

I used to think college was just a set of hoops that you had to jump through, and once you jumped through enough of them, you got a degree. I’m not saying I was completely wrong about that. I’ve done a lot of hoop-jumping over the past few years. But those hoops aren’t just disconnected, mindless requirements with no end result. They’re a guide to what every good school should offer its students: a comprehensive education.

College isn’t all about just memorizing facts. It’s not all about learning what to think. A great deal of my education has been about learning how to think, and I can honestly say that my thought process and approach to problems is much different now than it was four years ago. Part of that probably has to do with maturity, but I’m sure that a lot of it can also be attributed to my education. College taught me how to look at things creatively, to ask the right questions, and to take a different approach when necessary. That’s something I never pictured myself learning when I started college.

I’m not pretending that I know it all. Undergraduate school has just been a step in what I hope will be a lifelong process of learning. But if college taught me anything, it’s that every situation is an opportunity to learn, and I’m going to end up learning new things whether I want to or not. I can honestly say now that I love learning. I love seeking out ways to gain knowledge and insight from people and situations in my life, sometimes even from the most unexpected sources. I’m very grateful for what I’ve learned so far, for what I’m going to learn this semester, and for the way that my time at Hendrix has prepared me for all the learning I have in store. It’s been a wild ride, but I couldn’t be happier with the result or more excited for what’s to come. Thank you to everyone who has supported me on my journey thus far and to everyone who is keeping up with me as I continue down this path. You guys are the best, and I couldn’t have done it without you. God bless, thank you for reading, and I’ll talk to you again soon!