Brock Olson is a graduate of the University of San Diego ’12 with a bachelors degree in Political Science and English. He currently resides in Marysville, Washington with his wife and newborn daughter. He is currently working as a store manager for Abercrombie & Fitch while pursuing a degree in the Masters of Arts in Teaching
Looking back on my college years it is sometimes hard to recollect the various lectures, readings, and tests that I went through. The things that I paid all of that money for to learn in order to further my education sometimes seems to have gone out the window. It is at times like these when I sit and think about my own experience, retrospectively, to place a value on the four years of life that I spent at a University. When I do this it all leads me to one simple statement to summarize “its not about what you learn, rather, its about learning how to learn.” This is to say, in short, that what we are literally taught, ever chapter of every book and every note for every lecture is more or less meaningless. Will I remember when the first English dictionary was written or what New York was originally named? Probably not. And will the really matter, for my career, for life, for anything? Once again the answer is probably not. However, the things that are important are life, and learning how to live it. This is what college helps teach you by not, in fact, actually teaching you. Sure you learn how to live on your own and surely we all know that can be a tough one (I think more so for guys) and yes I did periodically take my laundry home to my mom for the first year. This aspect of learning how to care for ones own independent self for the first time in life is a very important thing you learn. To further on to this knowledge of life is not only learning how to live independently but also coexisting with one or two or however many other people. This is a valuable life lesson in the sense of for the first time in your life being stuck with people that you haven’t been stuck with since birth. These are completely different people, whether it is religion, location, ethnicity, or whatever it may be. You are surrounded by a diverse group of people, the opposite of what a domestic family may in fact be, and you are forced to coexist. This is an invaluable life lesson to learn, and once again it is one to be learned outside of the classroom. Through these two things coupled with the lessons from the classroom, one can find self-discovery and growth. There seems at one point or another, whether it’s sleeping in your dorm room that first night or it’s walking up stage for your diploma, where you finally grow up. You have become an adult. And guess what, it wasn’t from all of those books you’ve been reading and lectures on when the first English dictionary was published or what New York was originally named (1755 and New Amsterdam by the way, in case you were wondering, and yes you do retain some of this random information). It happened through it all. All of the growth you’ve made internally, the relationships you’ve formed with others, the tireless hours of preparation you’ve done to take a test worth forty percent of your semester grade. Ultimately all of it comes together for one great achievement of a single piece of paper. That’s it one plain white sheet of computer paper in a forty-dollar frame. But it represents more than that. It isn’t just a certificate for a bachelor’s degree in Political Science or English or Biology. It’s a certificate that you are ready to go out into the world and take on whatever comes at you because you’ve just proven you can do that. It shows the world you are ready for it. And more importantly it shows yourself…you can do this, this crazy thing called life.