Fall daydreaming of graduation

By James P. Kneblik, Jr.

For Floridians, fall does not mean autumn leaves or fire-like blooming landscape but it does mean cooling temperatures, welcomed relief from mosquitoes and an anticipated end of another hurricane season.

For students, it is just another semester of classes; for me, it is the end.

Just two weeks ago I showed up at the Barnes and Noble on campus and ordered my cap and gown, graduation announcements and joined the USF alumni association.

At that moment it actually felt like I was really nearing the end, maybe because I received a t-shirt from the university with “alumni” printed on it: definitely a first. When December 14 finally comes, I will be completing my 4.5-year college career.

I’ve studied at three universities, in two different states and changed my major half way through. I have a feeling I am not alone in this track record.

In nearly one month I will walk across a stage, receive a piece of paper and somehow earn a higher “degree” of preparation for my life ahead. It hardly seems worth it. But I know it is.

College is worth more than a diploma

I have been given skills and experiences from college far beyond my major or classes. I have learned that life is worth hard work and the work pays off in the end. A bad day is never as horrible as it first seems; even a “C” in marketing management will not ultimately ruin my college career.

I have come to appreciate my business classes, especially economics. Really, I’m serious. So many things come back to these basic principles. While I am not an economics major, understanding it has made me be a better citizen. Sometimes I think people should be a required to take at least one course in economics before voting in an election. I think it would change people’s perspectives.

College has also helped me be spontaneous. I love to explore a new part of town, find a new cafe or take a walk through a park during lunch break. I remember when I first drove through Roser Park, just a couple blocks from campus. It was like driving into a completely different city, something similar to San Francisco. It’s those simple surprises, the serendipity, that got me through the last few years.

Yet academic side, I have learned skills and strategies of how to be an “A” student. Of course, I didn’t always use these tips, but for those ambitious freshmen looking for the top-quality study tips I never had time to implement, please take note:

Top five impractical and brilliant study tips

Number Five: Read all recommended material before every class. With every class added onto a student’s transcript, it seems a more lenient standard of reading is acquired. But for every page number, recommended article and practice homework problems the “A” student is given the opportunity to “get their money’s worth.”

Number 4: Buy every required text. Somewhere along the way, a student realizes that text books are often suggestive, even when they’re considered “required.” One might go for the online approach, borrow from a friend or just try surviving without it, but eventually paying $140 for each text book will grow ridiculously old. But of course, the good student would never give into this temptation to save a buck, would they?

Number 3: Attend every class period. The alarm clock goes off Monday morning, the party went later than expected the night before and there’s a massive urge to keep the head planted on the pillow. Alternative? Think of how each class is another way for knowledge to be systematically inserted into your mind. Right, go ahead and sleep.

Number 2: Study in the library after each class. It has been said that the best time to study is right after the lecture. So, whether it may be from Davis, Coquina or the COB, make the trek across campus and devote some study time at Nelson Poynter Memorial Library.

Finally, number 1: Devote three hours of study time to every one credit hour. During ones college career this suggested system of study will be repeated over and over by seasoned professors who have lost touch with the realistic demands placed upon their students. If you actually do the math, do not be alarmed. It is, unfortunately, pathetically and simply impossible.

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