KellyOpinion1Why good grades aren’t enough to prepare you for reality

Speeches, papers, and exams fill the mind. Highlighter streaks and ballpoint pen marks paint the pages of our calendars, but allow no room for artistic expression. Our studies control our lives and leave little room for social intermingling. Yes, there is classroom dialogue and dorm “life” but where is the balance between the insanity academics brings upon us and personal wellbeing? For many, especially those at Concordia that are heavily involved, finding balance between putting their needs before textbooks can be a struggle.

As students we often forget that we are living in the “real” world. The idea that the working world starts after we graduate is ludicrous.  We are submerged in diluted version of this world and I am sure reality bites harder than anticipated but addressing emphasis to focus on our future is important at our age. Every minute, decision, and action can dramatically affect a multitude of variables that we might not even realize. That is a lot to chew on, and what a weight that puts on us as students. We as students have to get our act together quickly.

I agree that academics are important but I am also a strong believer that we need to make time for ourselves in order to sustain a functional personal wellbeing. Particular activities that are not academic but teach us important moral or life skills that a classroom cannot are important to seek out. No, I am not talking about partying — although some may argue in favor, but rather more rejuvenating methods such as volunteering, exercise, music, and so on. As cheesy as it sounds, nature for me is an avenue I seek as a rejuvenating escape from the somewhat overbearing weight that school carries. You know yourself, so find a way to escape that fits you. For everyone it is going to be different and that is okay.  As important as school is, so is your wellbeing. Put yourself first. Be selfish once in a while, but don’t avoid your studies either.

The argument always comes down to a grade, a misrepresented symbol that portrays how well we memorize and test on a particular subject that obviously varies on multiple conditions. What that grade doesn’t represent is what a student actually takes away from that course. An average B or C student might grasp the concept perfectly but when asked to be tested on it, he or she might fall short from the others, portraying that they don’t understand the concept from the teacher’s viewpoint. These students must be incapable of reaching a successful future. Not true.

We shouldn’t let a grade or one failed attempt decide our paths or futures, nor should we allow these “failures” to prohibit our advancement in a particular study or career path.  As mentioned before, a grade does not reflect our intelligence and it is important to realize that. It is how you interpret and apply that information that does. Obviously it is important to get your facts or concept correct, but life is a lesson within itself and the learning does not stop once you have a degree. We can’t escape B.R.E.W.

Professors and staff often don’t realize that we have lives outside the classroom, just as we often forget that they go home to their families and carry out their lives too.  As much as school should be our main focus, sometimes it isn’t. This doesn’t mean we don’t care, but might be juggling multiple jobs, relationships on multiple levels, and commitments. It comes down to prioritizing and having discipline. Theoretically this sounds achievable but as college students our brains are stimulated by more than textbooks. The challenge is finding the balance.
Many wish they had the answers on how to prioritize, as it would make things a lot easier. Personally for me, I enjoy the struggle and insight gained from new challenges and experiences I encounter. I’ve realized what’s important to me and where my interests truly lie. It is important to further those interests both in the classroom and out. Who cares if you are or aren’t the best student in that field. The truth is life will still go on. You will hopefully still obtain your degree, get a job, and get married.

Time, there simply isn’t enough of it to fulfill all life assigned duties or opportunities to explore and relieve our minds. With prioritizing your workload as well as making time for pleasure, a successful career as a college student is obtainable.  Have free time, do what you love, but make sure you are committed to your studies and your personal wellbeing.

Kelly T. Knutson

Kelly T. Knutson 15' is an opinion columnist for the Concordia who focuses on environmental awareness / concerns in his entries. Originally from the upland prairies of Grand Forks, North Dakota, Kelly recently transplanted to Bemidji where he calls the conifer forests of Minnesota his home. Being ecologically literate and knowing his roots comes at high importance to Kelly. In his spare time he enjoys being immersed as well as fascinated by nature through hiking, birdwatching, mushroom foraging, camping etc. At Concordia he is involved with Sea - Student Environmental Alliance, Concordia Chapel Choir, Eco-Reps as the Coordinator, 2014 Sustainability Symposium planning committee, coordinating the 2014 HILT High Impact Leadership Trip for spring break, and a Lab TA for the Biology department.

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