Ask a fifth-year: Start the World, I’m Ready to Get On!

Dear Sarah,

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m sick of college. I feel like I’ve learned everything I’m going to learn here at Lawrence. Now, I just want to jump into a job and get started with the next part of my life. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the last few weeks of this term, let alone Spring Term. Do you have any suggestions for how I can motivate myself to finish this year strong or at least respectfully?

—A Sea Monster Called Senioritis

Dear Senioritis,

I want to start off by saying there is never a point where you have learned everything you need to learn. You’re still in your early twenties, or I suppose your late teens if you started college early or possibly your late twenties if you chose to take a lot of time between high school and college. You still have approximately 60 years of life left to live; that’s 60 years of learning still to be done. I firmly believe one of the greatest joys in life is continuing education. My grandma decided after her retirement to buy herself a drum set and teach herself how to play the drums. You never know what new pathways you might discover later on in life.

That being sad, I understand your frustration with the collegiate version of learning. I dream of a day where dinner is a meal that I can enjoy as opposed to a meal that involves me hoping I don’t spill soup on my laptop because I’m trying to write a paper at the same time. Push yourself to see the glass as half full as opposed to half empty this week. This isn’t just one more tedious summary of a bunch of readings you didn’t actually do last week, it’s another opportunity for you to absorb as much material as possible in a very small time frame.

You say that your biggest hope is to get out of college and jump right into a job. Look for ways that the material you’re covering in your current classes could be applied to that future. Maybe it specifically applies to your goals to be an editor of a big time magazine or an anthropologist out in the field. Or maybe there are some small, but equally as important, life skills that could be applied to less desirable jobs, such as working in retail or as a bouncer at a club.

If you’re at a complete apathetic standstill, you could consider going to your professors to discuss the class. Don’t go and tell your professor you hate everything they’re trying to teach you and that you think it’s all useless, because that will likely get you a very grouchy face and possibly being thrown out of their office. However, you might have more luck if you take charge of your own learning. If you hate all the repertoire you’ve currently picked for your recital, ask your studio teacher about swapping a few of the pieces out. If you can’t face writing another research paper, go to your professor with another idea that you feel would be equal in the amount of work and would allow you to demonstrate what you have learned from their course. Admittedly, not every professor is going to let you trade out an academic paper for a performance art piece, but some might consider it.

Lawrence is all about taking charge of your own education and making the learning work for you. Take a closer look at what’s right in front of you and see how you can flip your education on its head.