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Andreina Hernández, venezuelan student in Madrid: " How (and why) to make the most out of college?"

03-12-2019
Andreina Hernández, venezuelan student in Madrid:

How (and why) to make the most out of college?

As a college student myself, this question has afflicted my whole five-year career degree. Wait, no. Scratch that. It wasn’t always like that. When I first arrived I didn’t think of making the most of college at all. I just did. Or rather, I try to. And then, as my graduation approached, this question remerged and that’s when it really started bothering me. I feared I may’ve not done college right at all. My name is Andreína Hernández. I’m a 20 year-old venezuelan studying Journalism and International Relations in Madrid. 

But what’s right, anyway? Making the most out of college depends on what each of us prioritize. Some may take it like a thunderstorm, absorbing everything and giving exactly that (and even more!) in return. And some may take it passively. Both ways are right ways. 

However, if you ask me, you’ll enjoy college the most when you make it your own. This is when you’ll hear for the first time kings and wars and theories that would arise something within yourself that you’ve never felt before. It awakens a desire to take it all in until your curiosity is satisfied. 

So feed it. Read. Ask. Get passionate about ideas. Go to conferences. Cram your head full of images. Make up your mind. Listen to lectures. Stay in the library. Write in the margins of your books the personalities and events you’ve never heard before so you can look it up later. Research. Watch documentaries. Build friendships with your college professors. Go for coffee and talk about that speech that’s still bugging you. Get involved. Read all the great poetry. See all the great films. Fill your life with metaphors. Be curious.

Why? Because words and ideas can really change the world, as the film Dead Poet’s Society so magnificently reminds us. And they will. We are the generation responsible for leading the world out of today and towards a different destiny. But how that destiny will be depends on us, on how we devise it. And to craft it, consequently, first we need to define ourselves. That’s what college’s for!

This is when you’ll figure out what you like. This is the only moment in your life you’ll have time to discover, to make choices, to take the wrong decisions, to create, to start all over, again and again. To invent and reinvent yourself until you tried it all. It’s the moment to disclose who you can be and will be. To identify your role in changing tomorrow. 

If you realized the path you took wasn’t quite right. It’s okay! For one, “education is the ability to meet life’s situations”, as the former president of Princeton University mentioned; so, making the wrong choice is part of life. Making mistakes here are admissible and even welcome because these will prepare you for adulthood. And also, here’s the thing, it’s never too late to be what you might have been, anyway. 

When I first arrived I didn’t think of making the most out of college, but oh! How I’d wish I had. How I’d wish someone would’ve told me. So if you are a freshmen and you needed the reminder, this is it. This is fate telling you to make the most out of college. To discover the best version of yourself. So go and take it all in.

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