The idea behind college that a lot of high school graduates do not grasp is that college is not a simple extension of any prior education. To attend college is not just a step up on the educational ladder, like grammar school to junior high to high school. What sets college apart is the very concept of it: it is a crossroads to something else, a limbo of not only education, but exploration as well. Experience college as a winding roadmap destination: to know where it all leads to is beside the point. All the fun to be had is in getting there.

You should go to college to meet people. What sets them apart from the kind of folk you would meet in, say, a bar or a shopping mall lies in their interests. College campuses come loaded with behavioral presets; certain people take certain classes, and so on. Discover a niche and follow it along. It may be a passionate interest, or merely a passing one. Very few institutions will offer such benefits, especially from such a collective of varied minds and hearts. Take risks, go out of your way, and establish new modes of how to approach a situation. Explore new surroundings with the desire to conquer.

Network. Regardless of what plans may lay in the future, network with those whose own interests spark a common connection. This can create a goldmine of later opportunity and potential. The reality of the real world is inscribed in stone: nobody ever got anywhere on their own. Help those that help you, and vice versa.

And who can really say what the future will bring? It may be true to know your destination at the end of college, what you want to be, but always allow room to stretch and to breathe. Study in whatever capacity your mind will allow. Complete general education to resample what had already been learned in high school. Pick new classes that sound intriguing. Make detours. Take a class that dives into an old childhood interest or one that scares you, just to test your very limits. Explore what was never charted. There may very well be a hidden passion inside of you, for any undiscovered subject. Bring it out into the open and exploit it to your hearts content.

Just keep busy. Visit the library and pick random books with neat titles, eat along the small brick walls that line the campus sidewalks, stroll around and inside buildings that don’t concern you, (go to parties). Even when you decide to ease up on the reigns of your day, be sure to pull over to a stop along the corner coffee shop; because college extends beyond classes and education. It can tailor to an entire lifestyle, a lifestyle currently in the making. It does not quit. And the idea will always remain the same: to reshape and to remold the prior mind. At the end of it all, will you be the same person as when you began?

Bryan Peter,
Alumni

Author's Bio: 

I'm a weary college graduate who doesn't regret spending five years getting to know people, and learning new things.