As I’m writing this, it’s exactly two months away from May 16, a.k.a. G-Day, the day that my four years of poorly scheduled classes and over-involvement will come to fruition when I can walk across that stage, diploma in hand. It’s Graduation Day.
Now that it’s finally hitting me that, very soon, there won’t be a cafeteria below my feet and sweatpants won’t actually be the appropriate businesswear, I’m starting to realize how important all of my internships and jobs were. Sure, I may not have been itching to get to work to stuff envelopes or spend some quality time with the copier, but I can look back now and say that I definitely underestimated how important they were in helping me get ready to go into the–gulp–real world.
I’ll admit that, throughout college, I haven’t always been a great student. Actually, I was never really a great student. I, ashamedly, never cared about my GPA, and I’ve always been a huge procrastinator. Somehow, I’ve always kept the grant money that keeps me here by not letting my grades drop below a very generous GPA, which I won’t mention, but to me, that’s all that mattered.
A lot of people disagreed with me during my time at Cabrini, telling me I should care more about school and cautioning me that my grades were going to be bad news bears when it came to finding a job. And those warnings definitely scared me.
But instead of taking anyone’s advice, I opted to get involved with a slew of on-campus activities, and pretty much dedicated all my time to being at events and helping other students get involved, too.
During my freshman year, I got involved with CAP Board, planning events with a board of upperclassmen who intimidated me more than I ever knew. I think being on a board of juniors and seniors scared me more than my grades, but, for some reason, I stuck with it.
CAP was like my recreational drug. Once I got a taste of how much fun being involved was, I couldn’t stop signing my name to every list that got passed around. I eventually became a member of the Yearbook Club, and got involved with The Loquitur and the Alumni Board. Something about being a part of the things that actually happened at Cabrini was so much more fun to me than staying at home and studying.
This isn’t to say that everyone should be doing things my way. There were so many times that I peeked at my grades out of one squinted eye, expecting to hit a new low every time. There’s no doubt I should have cared a little, no, a lot more about what my grades were, but, in retrospect, I’ve begun to realize that all my on-campus involvement and internships got me more ready for the workplace than any test ever could have.
To date, I’ve had three internships. There are some that I’ve definitely liked more than others, but, in the end, they all taught me something. I learned more about what was required for my future career, not about the underlying themes in Shakespeare or the dates of every battle in the Civil War.
Besides that, I gained so many valuable connections and references that I never would have had otherwise. I mean, let’s face it, none of my professors were going to be thrilled at the prospect of writing me a reference.
I’m a shy person. Though, once you know me, you would never guess it. But my internships and work experience have helped me overcome my knack for starting out questions with “um…uh…I have a question…” and led me to feel more confident in my skills and in my ability to learn new things. That’s something I could never have gotten from any course or from any professor.
Now that senior year is drawing to a close, I have to wonder about the Facebook statuses of some of my friends/not friends/you-transferred-freshman-year friends. I understand needing to get good grades, but, at this point, what’s the big deal if you skip one extra class or you don’t completely go crazy over one paper?
In two months, those papers and those homework assignments are going to be reflected in our GPA, but, after May 16, who is going to care? I think students of any age should strive to gain all the experience they can before we graduate. There are so many excellent opportunities for students to build their resume and get hands-on experience, and one day, it’s going to pay off more than your history paper. I promise.