Something I Never Thought I’d Say: “I <3 College."

Before you think, “Oh God, another middle class white girl from New England telling me about the importance of education!” please hear me out.

If you are currently in high school, or even if you graduated from high school 20 years ago, I urge you to consider applying to college. Trust, I came up with all of the excuses when my parents first told me I was going. “You didn’t go to college, why should I?” I would scream. And then there’s the expense. I go to the least generous private university around and I take out loans every year. So, I know it can be discouraging when you get down to the nitty-gritty.

I didn’t always think school was great. Actually, I hated school and school really hated me. Even my high school guidance counselor had no faith in my ability to succeed, and that was basically her only job. But here I am today, crying over a B+ and sort of in love with college.

While you don’t need to go to a private school and get a “designer” diploma, education is extremely important. College is an opportunity to learn about the world, and most importantly about you.

So, I put together a list of reasons why I think college is worth it, partially for my own sanity, more so because when I was 15 and everyone was telling me no, I wish there was some random chick on the internet telling me yes. I’ll save you the obvious things, like getting the job you want, lifelong friends and a degree that never goes out of style. Instead, here are 5 things you maybe haven’t thought of:

1. Internships

Before you can get the job of your dreams, you need skills that no classroom can teach you. I didn’t realize the importance of internships until I came to college. I have the luck of going to a school that prides itself on internship programs. In fact, I wouldn’t be writing this post for HelloGiggles if it weren’t for an internship program. Internships help you figure out if that dream job is really your dream, with no real risk attached. And even if you hate your internship, you can come away from it with great references if you really work hard, and even better skills.

2. The Friends You Haven’t Met Yet

Alumni. Alumnae? I failed Latin, but they still exist. I recently moved to LA from Boston. You would be amazed at how many people went to my university. It’s a great conversation starter, and conversations form friendships that could maybe lead to a partnership or job opportunity down the line. Even if someone didn’t go to your school, maybe you played one another in sports or were in the same fraternity or club. It’s one more thing you could have in common with the person sitting across the table in an interview, and who doesn’t love a leg up?

3. More important than friends: People You Hate.

Listen up, kiddos, life is full of people you cannot stand. I’ve had a roommate who doesn’t shower, a boss who contradicts himself four times in one sentence and a project partner who’s never heard of an alarm. It would have been so easy to tell them all to piss off and be done with it. But in real life you can’t just be an a**hole, otherwise, well, you’re just an a**hole and no one wants to be around you. I learned I don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like me. Day in and day out, you’ll meet people who will challenge you or who downright suck as humans, and there is no better time to learn how to deal with them than when you’re 18.

4. Making $13 into $130

There are no meal plans in real life, but meal plans are sort of like living on a budget, which is something most people should learn how to do at a young age. I think my bank account has had a negative balance more times than a positive one. Being poor and struggling is a fact of life. Luckily, while you’re in college, you learn to make $20 last longer than it should. You learn how to get creative and how to hustle. And when you really fall on hard times, you learn how to ask for help.

5. Kill Your Babies

Disclaimer: This was said to me in a writing class and refers to editing your own work. I’m not recommending you go around injuring newborns. A lot of people say go out and pursue your dreams and reach for the stars. While that is wonderful and beautiful, it’s not always realistic. I once had a dream of being a guerrilla filmmaker working for PETA. While I support the cause, that’s not the safest plan. Sometimes a great idea is just that, a great idea but not entirely practical. From that writing class, I learned that it’s okay not to achieve every single goal or make every dream a reality. It doesn’t make you a failure.

You don’t have to agree with me. And maybe these reasons weren’t enough to convince you. But there is one thing that I can’t possibly explain: the pure joy of looking at your diploma. I can’t explain it partially because I don’t graduate until May. But, also, because it’s a feeling like no other. You don’t know how many people, including my guidance counselor, told me I would never get here. There is something so satisfying about being able to say, “Well, I did.”

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