Half of College: Growing Up

This post is cross-posted at the SFGate.com Community Site.

College is half academics. The other half? Learning to become a functional human being. That’s why it always baffles me to meet students here at Middlebury that are aren’t working to hard to learn about “life.” Take a student that has never done laundry before in his entire life. Or a student who refuses to wear a seatbelt in the car. Or a student that always does homework on a Friday night.

While college can certainly force people grow up fast without the support of the parental unit, it also serves as a safe haven to get away with not dealing with practical and fundamental issues. Middlebury, secluded in the rolling hills of Vermont, does a great job providing an intimacy where students can never have to ask tough questions of themselves or others:

Who do I associate with? How should I lead my life? What values are important to me? What makes me happy? What makes me unhappy?

College is about spending the time to answer these fundamental questions and learn the practical skills to live independently (washing clothing, cooking, living with other people). So when I meet people who are just skating by, I want so badly to stop them and intervene. I don’t care if you’re just being a space cadet or you know you’re family money can buy you out of anything get into, wake up! And yet I know it’s not my place to go around waking people.

All I can do is simply play teacher outside the classroom every once and awhile and get some of my classmates to sharpen up their life skills.


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