May 14, 2010
By Rebecca Howard
Rebecca Howard, one of the student coordinators for Today @ Colorado State, reflects on her time at CSU as she prepares to cross the stage for her commencement ceremony.
This semester, one of my professors made a simple, but valid point. Grades do not matter in the real world.
As I prepare to graduate and begin the search for a job, its unlikely that an employer will care about the A- in biology that I fought tooth and nail for. They won't see my past assignments from news writing or my quiz scores from copy editing, and if they did, they probably would not be that impressed.
This is not to say that I am not proud of my academic accomplishments, but the point my professor wanted to make was that the most important thing is what you actually learned, not the grade you received. And I can safely say that I have learned a lot in my four years at Colorado State University, both inside and outside of the classroom.
I knew that I was ready to graduate when I finally felt comfortable here. This statement might not make sense, but I'll explain.
A lot of students describe their freshman year as a time in which they were young, stupid and thrilled to have their first taste of freedom. I beg to differ.
While I was excited to be on my own and to experience something new, I was also scared out of my mind. I was in a completely different environment, I knew no one, I missed my friends from home and frankly, I wanted my mommy.
The size of CSU's campus was also an intimidating factor – anyone who knows me is aware that I can't navigate my way out of a paper bag, and walking around campus among a population of 25,000 students was a far cry from my high school of roughly 800 students.
In short, I spent a majority of my freshman year practically peeing my pants in terror (figure of speech), as I went through each new experience, from meeting my roommate for the first time, to taking my first college exam.
Now, in my senior year, I feel 100 percent comfortable at CSU. I walk into classrooms filled with people who know me, I have found my niche working in Student Media, and after four years, I can confidently say that I will not get lost trying to find a building on campus (It's bad, I know. Don't judge me).
This feeling of comfort is a signal to me that it is time to move on to something new and scary. And in case you aren't aware of the current job market for journalists, it's pretty scary.
I would not be the person I am today if I had not gone away to college. I grew as a journalist through my involvement as a reporter and an editor for College Avenue, I grew as a person through meeting new people and having new experiences, and of course, I grew as a student through my time spent in the classroom. All the while, I had to ignore my fears and anxieties and try my best to succeed.
If you haven't caught on to my theme by now, here is my point: The experiences that take you outside of your comfort zone are often the ones that teach you the most.
So, my advice for you is to do what scares you. Chances are, if you're smart, you'll learn something important along the way.
Before I end this self-indulgent farewell, I have a few people to thank:
Congratulations, Class of 2010. See you in the real world.