At the end of my first college semester I have discovered that college is more about maturing as a human individual than about actual academic scholarship — although overcoming the challenges of each course and learning how to think intellectually was a factor in this maturation. Yet I cannot say that I am really more mature but rather more experienced — more knowledgeable about the ways of the world — wiser in handling human relationships and life in general.
The semester is short, intense, and exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. The thrill of learning new information, of delving deep into texts, and of making connections between ideas you never considered is a priceless experience. Perhaps this is the real reason for college — not for a better job but for a better person.
But the academic semester is physically and mentally draining. You are burnt out, run out of steam and energy, yet still forced to press on. You look back and wonder how you did it all – all those lunches, dinners, sleepovers, meetings, classes, appointments, work hours, assignments, and news posts. You have blazed through only four months and have developed so many friendships, yet you feel strangely empty when they all disperse, when you hand in your last final of the semester and wonder if you really tried hard enough – if you could have tried harder.
Would that have been worth the extra boost in your GPA? You, who were always at the top, who always managed to “do it all” – did you do it all? – did you keep the right priorities? Did you fail to put God first? Somehow the intensity of the schoolwork pushes all else to the side…
But when you compare grades — which might not be as bad as you thought — to the friendships you’ve gained and developed, you’d much prefer the latter than to have stellar grades and no friends, no memories of human camaraderie, no warm experiences that keep you going when you’re down. Besides, there’s always next semester – when you can get a better grip on life and try again.