Somber Collegiate Reflections

Published 3:41 pm Friday, November 12, 2010

As I reach the twilight of my college career, I look back upon the obstacles overcome, valleys crossed, paradigms questioned, and goals achieved, and think to myself: What have I learned?

The answer to this question, sadly, is nothing. I went through half a dozen majors before settling on one that I like (Media Studies), and Im not sure thats a particularly strong major to qualify me for, say, med school. However, Ive heard that its pretty strong when youre trying to put a Starbucks application together, so Ive got that going for me. Oh well. At least I got some reading done.

I take that back. Ive learned a lot of stuff, its just that most of it is discrete and not really something I can use in the real world. Like my being able to write a structuralist critique of Ellisons The Invisible Man wont really help me the next time my car breaks down on the side of the road, and it is precisely because I chose to achieve this ability that I will have the type of car that breaks down on the side of the road fairly often.

All of this is me kidding, though. Ive really learned a lot of stuff in college! And its actually quite useful! For the next while, Ill use this column to outline what Ive learned in college, until I run out of things Ive learned or I actually graduate college and start writing about my struggles on the job hunt.

But for my first lesson, I will talk about paying attention.

I am very bad at this. However, Ive learned that if you want to get anywhere as a young person, youve got to pay attention to something, even if its just whats going on around you. Right now, I am sitting in the second floor of UNCs Student Union, writing this column. There is a guy sitting next to me with a hole in his shoe; its in the part of his shoe where you would only get a hole because of skateboarding. If I wanted to, I could totally start talking to him about skateboarding, and then voila I would have a new friend.

Another thing I have learned in college is discerning when is a good time to ask strangers about skateboarding and when is a bad time to ask strangers about skateboarding, and now appears to be a bad time to ask a stranger about skateboarding. But you get my point.