It’s All About Perspective

Candace Cody is a recent graduate and holds a BA degree in Film Studies and Production and English Literature from Hofstra University. A film enthusiast from a very young age, Candace worked on the sets of ‘Royal Pains’ and ‘The Carrie Diaries’ as a production assistant. Her life took a turn when worked with New York City Urban Project as a Video Intern. She directed a feature length film on human trafficking in NYC, got involved with serving homeless people, and assisted in developing the ‘LOGOFF’ curriculum in 2013. Her passion for film and non-profit work has brought her to Birds Nest Foundation, where she works as the Production Manager of the company.

If I had to pick one thing that students learn first in college, I would probably say it’s to complain. Something I’ve noticed is that students start the year with a bunch of new energy and hope, but two weeks later when the hard work begins, students easily slip into complaining about one thing or another:

“I can’t believe our teacher gave us that exam.”

“The class is just so boring, I just can’t pay attention.”

“This workload is crazy, there’s just too much.”

“I just see no point in going to that class when I already know the material.”

“I feel like I’m wasting my time, I’d rather be out working in my field.”

I’m guilty of uttering some of these phrases, but at the same time I learned that school (and really, all of life) is all about your perspective. It’s easy to pick out the flaws in your teacher or the class you’re taking. What’s harder is to set those things aside and focus on the end goal and get the most from the experience.

I’ve hated my fair share of classes and material. I’ve found classes boring, and I’ve been given tons of papers and felt overwhelmed. It’s not that student’s frustrations aren’t valid, but getting stuck in the rut of disappointment won’t help solve the problems and it definitely won’t help you learn. When I would get down about school, I would remind myself of these three things:

1) Not everyone gets the chance to go to college.

Whether it’s by choice or by socio-economic status, most of the world doesn’t have the opportunity to go to college. In fact, only 6.7 percent of people in the world have a college degree. Rounding up, that means only 7 out of 100 people get the experience of walking at a college graduation and it means you are one of the luckiest people in the world. So, take it all in. Appreciate the walk across campus, your teacher’s silly jokes, and getting lunch with your friends. These are all a privilege.

2) School isn’t as serious as you think.

School doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Just because you get assigned a paper to write or have an exam next week doesn’t mean that you have to freak out or get super stressed. It’s just one paper. It’s just one grade. In the grand scheme of things, this is not a big deal. Sure, it’s a few extra hours in your dorm, but budget your time right and you can reward yourself by doing all the things you love when you’re done! And, in the process, you’ll probably learn something you think is pretty cool.

Additionally, even under the circumstances where you’ve had a bad semester, if you have to do an extra one, that’s okay. Your grades do not reflect on your character: a failing grade doesn’t mean you are a failure. All a failing grade means is that you may need more time. So take your time, there’s no rush. Learning is a process

3) Classes aren’t a ball and chain you’re stuck to for 3 1/2 months.

You are in class voluntarily with the purpose to learn. This is not a job, and the school world is not the real world. I often entered class with the mindset that I was going to an event. Sometimes, I wouldn’t like a class’ subject, but most times-nearly all times-I found the subjects fascinating. When else in my life would I get the opportunity to hear an expert talk in depth about the writing of James Joyce? When else was I ever going to get such a clear explanation of how to light a film set? When else was I ever going to go up on the school roof and look at Jupiter with an Astronomer? When I began to look at school as an opportunity instead of an obligation, it changed from being laborious to sincerely fun.

School is never a waste of time because you get knowledge and a once in a lifetime experience out of it, but if you view school as a waste of time, I can assure you you’ll get nothing out of it. So relax. School isn’t going to be perfect, but nothing in life is ever going to be perfect. The key is looking past the flaws (or attempting to solve them), and focusing on what is good about school. School will give you the chance, at one point or another, to go where you haven’t gone before, both academically and socially.

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