So this guy walks into a bar.
He strolls up to the bartender, slaps a twenty on the counter and orders the finest drink $20 can get. He takes two or three sips of the delicious concoction, then gets up, walks back out of the bar and leaves the drink behind.
Now, let’s have some real fun: let’s change that guy to the average college student, that $20 to $20,000, and that fine drink to a college education.
Making a little more sense now?
Something I’ve noticed consistently in my three years at OU is that an uncomfortable amount of students don’t seem to understand what exactly it is they’re doing. Just in case you are one of those simple-minded students, I’ll break it down for you.
You are paying to learn. You are attending a university to receive some good ol’ higher education, something many of the older generations never got to experience and likely never will.
It’s not always fair — pay to learn? Bah! Especially when it takes three jobs and a serious depression and lack of sleep to manage paying that tuition. And don’t even get me started on paying to live on campus and eat shitty Chartwells food.
But “it is what it is,” as some asshole once said.
Being a senior really puts things into perspective. I have seven more months and I’m done. I’m out. No more homework, no more class, no more discounts, no more 24-hour libraries and strolls across the beautiful campus I’ve come to know and love.
No more Oakland Post, my pride and joy, and no more of that comforting sense of unlocking my office door ready to face a day of working hard and connecting with the colorful people of OU. No more seeing Josh Soltman, my favorite human being in this entire cruel world. No more smiling and waving to just about every person I see in the Oakland Center. No more laughing about how many student loans I have, because I’ll actually have to start paying them off.
But enough of the sob story: the point is, we have it easy at school. It’s only going to get harder. There can be friends and comfort, but only if you work hard. There’s no turning in late assignments. There’s no sleeping through a job. There’s no telling five different professors that your grandma died and you won’t be able to make it to the next few classes. There’s no one to hold your hand through each step — not if you want to be someone, at least.
So while it may seem okay to slack off and make light of things at school, what’s the point? You’re not doing yourself a favor.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly the highest and mightiest of them all. Had I written this my freshman year, I would have been labeled as the biggest hypocrite of all time. There are still some days now, as a senior, when I can qualify. I like to sleep. I have shit going on. It happens.
BUT, now I realize exactly what it is I’m paying for, and I take advantage of it. I may skip a class every now and then, but when I do I feel horrendously guilty, and I’m usually doing something else I consider to be nearly, or just as, important.
I also realize that life will not get any different once I am handed that degree. All that changes is the amount of bills I have to pay, and the amount I’m making to do so.
So don’t be an idiot. If you walk into that bar and throw a $20 on the counter, you sure as hell better enjoy the whole goddamn drink.