When was the last time someone asked you, “So, what did you learn in school today?” For me, it’s been ages.
To be honest, I never liked the question, so I kept it simple.
“Nothing,” I’d say. Nothing?
Don’t get me wrong: I was proud of memorizing the preposition song, the capital of every state, or the finger trick to multiply by nines (hopefully you were lucky enough to learn it!) –- but school was school.
College is the first time where school-life and life-life really meet, and now, as a (too) soon-to-be college graduate, I can’t help but ask myself: “What did you learn these past four years?”
In college, you learn how to balance your passions and prioriorities, especially when they sometimes conflict; how to reach your potential and how exactly it should be measured; and how to mold yourself into a person who matters.
You learn about how capable you are, of the brilliance of creativity, and how a little hard work can make a world of difference.
You see that self-reliance and independence are important when you’re away from home; or that it’s OK to befriend a professor because he or she simply knows more about life; or, like me, you come to finally understand the rules of basketball.
For me, SU enforced just how important it is to be independent, to be driven, and to stay motivated. It’s much more gratifying to fail knowing that you tried your best, and at the very least, being able to walk away with a better plan for next time.
College puts us face-to-face with constant crossroads, decisions and predicaments. Some days were tough, really tough. The classes, the social situations, and the ‘crucial’ life choices: they’re challenging because life is challenging, and things that come too easy don’t hold any value. Hopefully, these past two, three or four years at SU have taught all of us that much, at least.
Writing this is tough –- which is how I know I’m leaving something really great behind.
In Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Brad Pitt says, “In the end, you start thinking about the beginning.” So on the eve of graduation, I encourage you to think about your beginning at SU, a bit. Think about your 18-year-old froshy, eager, nerdy self, and realize how far you've come since then before you leave all of this behind.
What did you learn? What has Syracuse given you?