Oswego State is a liberal arts college. What this implies is that I was supposed to become a well-rounded student after attending this university.
I thought about this in my capstone class as my professor proposed a last assignment. The assignment required me to consider my entire education as a communication and social interaction major. When my professor said this at first I thought: Easy! I’ll just throw something together and think about my college experience in the big picture. It didn’t take a bachelor’s degree for me to realize, it’s not that easy.
It shouldn’t be easy though. College, at the bare minimum, is a four-year experience that results in a literal archive of moments. This assignment aside (seriously I haven’t even started it yet) made me think, “What exactly am I going to remember about college?”
Answering this question should happen in a few steps. You should first ask yourself, “What did I do?” You’d then want to follow that up with “Who did I do, whatever it is I did, with?” Finally the last question on your mind should be, “Why did I do it?”
These questions, thankfully, carry a lot of weight with me. It took me a while, but I’ve made the most out of my college experience. Freshman year, I was admittedly a typical freshman. I went out more than I should have and didn’t really let my college experience extend beyond Cayuga Hall. This was a mistake, and seriously I mean a big mistake. The going out wasn’t the mistake. Going out was fun and when I was a freshman, I wanted to have fun. What I regret was not getting involved in anything. I’m finishing up a two and a half year tenure as a member of The Oswegonian and I just wish I were a part of this much longer than that.
The only thing that eclipses this lack of ambition is my friends. And let me tell you, my friends made this experience everything it was. Yes, like I said before, I went out a lot my freshman year and I did it with a really tight-knit group of people. These people, four years removed, are frankly an impressive group of “young adults.”
My mom always told me that having too many friends was a bad thing. In high school, this didn’t make sense. Too many friends? You might disagree, but honestly, it’s true. The people I called my friends freshman year are now just Facebook friends who I feel obligated to wish a happy birthday. It’s frustrating saying my mom has been dead-on since I was a freshman in high school, but that lady knows what she is talking about.
The people I’ve surrounded myself with have pushed me forward in every capacity. From my experiences with my first roommate Max, to my off-campus homies in 239, I’ve been pushed to go further and I’ve returned that energy by supporting them as well.
I’ve done what I have for a lot of reasons, but I’ll reference my mom again. You shouldn’t really be doing things, like getting good grades, or joining an extracurricular activity for someone else, you should be doing it for yourself. I thought I’ve done a lot of what I’ve done for my mom, but in reality, I’ve been doing it for myself. Who else is hours of research on expectancy violations theory going to help? If you said someone other than me, you’re wrong. Does my mom need to know that The Oswegonian downstyles their headlines? It’d be cool, but, once again, no.
College is, in the most cliché way, exactly what you make of it. So I can’t say it enough, go do something and do it because you love it. This isn’t my elevator pitch for more writers, this is just a guy who’s done it all and who still wishes he could do more.