University is About More Than Attending Classes


We live in an age where a large number of people are attending colleges and universities, but a lot of people in the workforce don’t have a post-secondary degree. As such, there are a lot of misconceptions about university (and college) floating around. For example, when I was in highschool I was told you need to be an A student or a high B student to be accepted into university. This isn’t true. Some degrees require higher grades than others, but C students are perfectly able to get into university.

But the biggest misconception that I have noticed is the perception that all university students do is go to class. This seems especially true from the baby boomers. But this is actually a very small part of university. It is necessary to have a degree for a lot of jobs, this includes a number of management positions in retail. As such, to get a good job, we need a university (or college) degree. But there is so much competition that having a degree does not guarantee us a job. We need experience to get a job, but, without a job, it’s tough to get experience. Very few places are willing to pay us to get that experience, so we can’t afford to get it when we are done school. As such, university is as much about gaining experience as it is about going to class.

When I first started university, I was constantly told to get involved. By this they meant volunteer on campus, join clubs, and get to know people. In my experience, everybody who is serious about their studies does this, and it’s best to get involved during the first year. In my time at university, I’ve had 2 years worth of leadership training, I’ve volunteered from the second year on in various ways, I’ve joined clubs and have leadership positions in 2 of them, I’ve gone to various events put on by others, and I’ve organized events of my own. I know a lot of people at my school, and a number of my professors know me by name. As such, I won’t just graduate with a degree, I’ll graduate with experience and with connections.

University isn’t about attending classes, in fact, good grades aren’t the most important thing about university. University is about what you do when you aren’t in class. It’s about the people you meet and the connections you make. It’s about the experience you gain. And it’s about the memories you make.

FreethinkersUofC

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15 responses to “University is About More Than Attending Classes

  • clubschadenfreude

    I grew up in a very white very Christian community . It was not until going to university that I had a chance to talk with anyone who wasn’t descended from white Europeans who were some type of Christian. I am so very glad I got to go to university. I am the only one, except for one aunt, out of my very extended family who got more education than just high school.

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  • Michelle Anneliese

    I agree with this completely! Also, student who get involved are less likely to drop out, so that’s always an extra bonus! But, academics should always be number 1

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  • paidiske

    Hmm. I agree that your picture is ideal – but in my experience, not always attainable.

    Take my first degree, a bachelor of science. Between lectures, tutes and labs I generally had more than twenty contact hours a week, plus of course study time outside that. But the killer was that I needed to work to support myself, so I tended to be in class in my work uniform and dashing out the door as soon as we’d finished to get the bus.

    Not that every day was like that, but I could see a real difference between the experience of those of us who had to work, and those who were supported in one way or another and were able to focus on the “extras” of university life.

    I guess the pay off is when I had finished my degree I had already been working for some years, even if it was just in retail, so I had a proven track record as an employee.

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  • zareenn3

    Umm. Hey.

    I’m gonna agree but I’m gonna agree to some extent. I think the reasons why there are so many high school drop outs these days is because the importance given to degrees has been decreased over the period of years. Like you said, we need experience to get a job. Degrees go a long way but experience is experience.

    Also, universities, mostly, are money hogging institutions.

    ALSO, while it is important to talk and socialize and blah blah, it does count what you study in class, and what you learn. Otherwise, what’s the point of attending a university? To socialize and make new connections, alone? I think to succeed a student has to stay involved in his/her studies as well as participate in activities.

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    • hessianwithteeth

      The highschool drop out rate might be high for recent years, but it’s really not that high. And, while the type of degree does matter a bit, there are a large number of jobs that just want you to have a degree. For example, I’m studying history and philosophy, and i can use that to get a management degree in retail and in a good number of government jobs. Why? Because they value the degree, not the classes or the grades. This isn’t ideal, but this is just how things are.

      Liked by 1 person

      • zareenn3

        I would agree to that, most people at our work place have a different degree as to what they are working at.

        But this is what I was going at: I go to my university class and no one actually gives a shit if they learn anything or not. That’s why I think since we are paying so much for studies we should actually take interest in the subjects!

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  • klarapopkin

    I’ve studied at universities in India and Australia, and your description of your university experience sounds like what I would have liked mine to be more like. Education ideally should be an all-round development endeavour, at any level, although of course especially at university. Meeting people and gaining experience. Sounds fantastic. Doesn’t happen at every university though. Right now I’m trying to figure out ways for people to get that experience/network when they can’t afford to go to university and situations like that, or if they’ve already been through the system and come out with not much more than a sheet of paper/fancy lettering and an important signature at the bottom.

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    • hessianwithteeth

      My university has been making it more difficult to get experience too. They tell students to get involved, but then they make it difficult to get involved. I was lucky enough to attend the right thing at the right time, which gave me the information i needed to get involved.

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  • girlwiththehankie

    Well said. 🙂

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  • Scott Andrew Hutchins

    And you can still end up in a homeless shelter even if you graduate with good grades.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Foghorn The IKonoclast

    Humility is a precious gift and even better to impart to others.

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  • Derek Schoffstall

    I agree with your main point: that making connections in university is a huge benefit. However, I disagree that your subjective experience is universally true: that “university is (mainly) about what you do when your not in class”. Because it wasn’t for me. The reason: my field (psychology) necessitates a masters degree to go into the specific branch that I am trying to get into. Anything less and I can’t get access to my future career.

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    • hessianwithteeth

      Don’t you need connections to get into a masters program? Attending class makes a good impression on professors, but not as good an impression as going to the professors office after class and talking with them. Where you are, it may be possible to get into a master’s program without that connection, but it would be nearly impossible where I am.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Derek Schoffstall

        Here in the US, not really other than connecting with professors (which I think may have been the original point you were trying to make but I missed it). To be accepted into a masters program you need (1) excellent undergrad grades, (2) good GRE scores (3) admirable writing skills (for the app. essays) and (4) useful recommendations. So in terms of getting recommendations its critical to make connections with professors. Grad school is where making connections matters for me. Most of the connections I made in undergrad weren’t nearly as important. So your point is correct for my experience as well, it just matters at a later stage for me.

        Liked by 1 person

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