My parents love to talk about the worth of a liberal arts education. You go to college, you take a wide range of classes, you work hard, you get somewhere. Simple as that. Sort of like that whole ‘American Dream’ thing. But does taking a bunch of different classes and working hard really equal post-graduate prosperity?Other people, evidently, are asking the same thing. A big story in The New York Times recently cited, with grave horror, the decline in achievement among guys in relation to those up-and-coming girls. A lot of guys, though, suggested in their comments for the article: why bother?
Still, to this day, I wonder what the point of taking classes like Astronomy and ‘Math in the Arts’ (a real course at Connecticut College, when I went there) and Music Theory was. A perfect example of a useless class is the latter. I would definitely consider myself a musician. I played piano for six years, cello for 11 and have been playing guitar for 13. But one thing I have never excelled at is reading music. I hate it; it’s very mathematical and concept-oriented, and I’ve never been good at those sorts of things. So I had to go through a hellish semester-long music theory class, which was taught with good intentions (by a nice guy, Professor Stoner’that was his name … no joke) but just bored (and at times, confused) me to tears. And I wasn’t great at it, which I already knew. And all my friends were, like, ‘Dude, what’s the matter with you?’ because all I ever talk about is music. What a waste of my time and my parents’ money.
I’m left wondering why I put so much time and effort into that course. Was it to take on the challenge of something I wasn’t good at? (No.) Was it to keep my GPA up? (Yes, in part.) Or was it because I was a helpless, hard-working automaton (who should’ve been getting drunk and stoned with my friends instead of memorizing the ‘circle of fifths’)? (Absolutely.) There are so many students out there that believe that if they put their heads down, work all day and all night and do little on the social front in college, they will surely achieve success in the post-grad job world. Maybe this is so, in some cases, but in most, it’s a much different outcome. You need to be good at things like making copies, faxing and multitasking at most office jobs. At many employers, interaction with coworkers is paramount to getting things done’to actually working. If you’re no good at interacting with people, you might as well kiss employment good-bye. It sounds funny, but there is worth to going to all those parties and drinking all that beer. Think of those parties as busy offices, where you’re new and don’t know anybody. Think of that hot girl or guy in the corner as your new cubicle mate. How do you introduce yourself without coming off like a complete asshole?
So I put this to you: This semester, spend a little more time nursing a beer than working on those nursing degrees. Go to as many parties as you can, without being ‘that guy’ or ‘that girl’ that shows up at every shindig and gets f–ked up drunk and says stupid things. Make a concerted effort to socialize but in the way I have mentioned. This is your life. Life is a bull. You need to grab that mother—-er by the horns, or you’re going to be in for a long job-searching process. Take my advice: party like there’s no tomorrow ‘ or there won’t be one.
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