Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Find ways to expand your education while you still can

Published: September 5, 2014
Section: Opinions

When entering college, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. From the prospect of living alone and bearing the responsibilities that come with it, such as doing your own laundry, to the task of picking the right classes and all the activities that go in between them, it is hard to find composure. Yet once these daunting thoughts have been overcome and you finally have time to take a breath, the most pressing concern will arise: how to make the most out of the four unique years ahead of you. One of the ways in which to fulfill this goal is to immerse yourself in the realm of academia and explore as many avenues as possible.
Education is an invaluable resource. It serves as a vital bridge to unimaginable outcomes seeing as how the opportunities to garner more knowledge are infinite. Every day, scientific inquiry leads to new swaths of information, adding to the vast body of theories and ideas we have already accrued over the past millennia. With every passing moment, history is being made, and countless lessons can be gleaned from the past in order to comprehend the status quo. It is imperative, then, to have a sound understanding of the way the world works in order to make sense of what is happening around us. Being informed in multiple areas is crucial. From the nature of evolution to the ideals that spurred the French Revolution, there is a message and deeper meaning behind everything. The cataclysmic events that are shaping the modern Middle East cannot be fully realized without a broader historical context. Similarly, the regulations concerning fiscal policy in Washington, D.C. require an understanding of economic thought that spawned from great philosophers and thinkers such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo.
When it comes to choosing an area to focus on, such as a major or a minor, it is important to involve yourself in what you are best at and interested in, but it is equally important to leave room for everything else. Shrinking away from the natural sciences or literature classes is not the best approach to gaining a real education. The things that seem difficult at first will eventually become easier. Taking time to grapple with something outside of your intended area of study at first may seem irrelevant and futile, but it adds to the reservoir of knowledge and sometimes may even spark more interests. This is the ultimate goal of the years spent learning: to hone as many interests as possible. It is no wonder that the most renowned and successful people in the world have a plethora of hobbies, interests and activities that they are engaged in. The key to their success can often be attributed to their resolute desire to learn as much as they can in any and every field.
The four years spent at college are after all just a stepping stone. But the opportunities available to you during this time are not going to be as easily accessible once you leave. The classroom forces you to learn, to think and to grow. It is tempting to focus entirely on your future career goals and graduate school, but behind these noble ambitions, your appetite to explore as much as possible and learn new concepts should be insatiable. Once you arrive at the goal you have worked so hard for, you will find that your curiosity for learning will grow each and every day.
These years are inevitably going to be filled with new experiences and lessons, some of which may occur in the classroom and some outside of it, but both culminate in shaping your interests and personality. It is therefore prudent to endeavor to get a taste of all that you can while you have the time to. Think of John Locke’s tabula rasa mantra and apply it to your everyday life. You will find your mind is yearning to be filled.