There is no reality except in action. Man is nothing else than his plan; he exists only to the extent which he fulfills himself; he is therefore nothing more than the ensemble of his acts, nothing else than his life.
-Jean Paul Sartre
For every young person passing through the higher education system, the transition from high school, to undergraduate, to graduate is a unique journey. These journeys are incredibly idiosyncratic. No two of them look alike; they zig and zig and redirect according to the opportunities and passions acted on by their travelers. The decisions undergraduates make extend far beyond the classroom. In fact, for many of them the choice of major or minor becomes irrelevant in the face of a discovered calling or life-changing experience.
Over the course of four years in college, the average student will spend 60 full days in classrooms. This leaves 1400 days free and open to kindle and fan our passions, finding ways to connect what we find interesting in the classroom with who we are as budding individuals. The way students spend these 1400 days will inevitably alter the way they end up spending every other day for the rest of their lives.
College is about more than simply getting a degree. It is a time where young men and women dip their toes into the reality of life as an autonomous individual- free for the first time to make truly consequential choices about who they are, and what they want to do. Whether every student is aware of it or not, the undergraduate years are a pressure cooker of personal development where individuals should seize the opportunity to navigate the world on their own two feet, in the direction their own compass commands.
It is my hope that the following stories will reflect one of the most important truths I have discovered during my time in college: these journeys are not paved in lecture halls and classrooms alone. Far from it. Instead, those who report the most successful of journeys followed their special road to places sometimes completely unrelated to the classroom. In the end what becomes more important than the content of your study is the content of your character- personal growth, maturity, self-awareness, honesty with our true selves- these are the keys to success on one’s path through university.