We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare, but do we always follow the lesson? If I have one regret from college, it is that I rushed college and completed my degree in 3 years.
If you were like me and came into college with a bunch of credits from either AP, IB, or dual enrollment, you quickly saw that you could finish your degree in less than the typical 4 years. This sounds great: you save money, you save time, and you can start your career earlier. However, I will argue that it is more beneficial to spend at least 4 years at Grand Valley.
In a blink of an eye college will be over; if you complete your degree in less than 4 years, it feels more like half of a blink. The most important lesson I have learned in college is that most of your learning happens outside of the classroom. It is the activities you become involved in, opportunities you take advantage of, and people you interact with that truly enhance your learning. The material you learn in the classroom is important, don’t get me wrong, but I believe that no matter what your major is, there is so much more you can learn from being involved on campus that will help you develop socially, academically, and professionally. For example, my involvement on campus as a Resident Assistant (RA) has taught me how to interact with a diverse group of people and handle tough situations. I truly do not think I would be the person I am proud to be today if I was not an RA.
Now, I said that rushing college was my one regret. However, I would also like to argue that every mistake is an opportunity, and that there are ways to turn regrets into positives. As my undergraduate time at Grand Valley began coming to a close, I felt like I was not finished. I felt like there was more to learn, more to experience, and more to accomplish before I started a new chapter in my life. However, I felt like it was too late to change anything because I was almost finished with the classes I needed for my degree. So essentially I felt stuck, and I felt that by rushing college I was missing out on a whole year of being involved in other activities.
After much reflection, I recently decided that I am going to delay my graduation and study abroad in Norway for a year. Rushing college was my one regret, but I am now able to turn that into a positive because I have the time and space to study anything I am interested in and immerse myself in a different culture for a whole year. This is an experience of a lifetime, and I am beyond excited for it.
So, my advice is simple: be the tortoise and do not rush college. Take advantage of your time at Grand Valley to learn and experience as much as you can. I believe you should go through life without any regrets, but if you do have any regrets, view them as opportunities to create something positive. If you rush college, consider other educational opportunities you can take advantage of. The possibilities are endless, so make sure you get out there and get the best education you can!
Patrick MacDonald is a senior majoring in Accounting. He plans to study abroad in Norway for a year, and then go on to graduate school for either Accounting or Student Affairs. On campus Patrick was an RA, a Student Assistant for the Honors College, and an Accounting Tutor. He enjoys working out, exploring the ravines, and watching Netflix.