Graduate jaded after seven years

Brian Wagner

When do we stop learning? I mean, do we really learn in college by paying tuition and showing up now and then? Do we get smarter by just being here?

What does college stand for these days?

Honestly, I’m a bit jaded having attended college for seven years now, but would like to ask you all what we are really learning?

Are we learning about our lives or are we merely here taking someone else’s word for it all?

As I look back I realize I have been seated in classrooms under fluorescent lights for four-fifths of my life. I have attended two universities, a community college and completed my secondary education. And yet I still struggle with the reality that society, not so subtly, mandated I get a college degree in order to be successful and a contributor to the well-being of the whole.

But what is the well-being of the whole and who is justified to decide that for me? How is this success to be obtained? Is it that life is to be read about in books rather than experienced hands on? Is that how success is obtained and society fulfilled?

I feel privileged, even blessed, to have had three different work experiences outside of my educational endeavors. In these places I learned that most employers train you to do what they want. Most businesses want conformity and I would agree we learn that here. But as individuals, shouldn’t we pursue originality and develop our own personal constitutions? Shouldn’t we chase after our own dreams, risking security for the chance to hold contentment in our hands? Does social fulfillment come from individual suppression? Or are we filling our heads with another’s dreams by filling these classrooms with bodies?

Are we challenged to think beyond our books and daily lives? Are we pushed to mature into the people capable of obtaining our dreams?

I wonder?

Brian Wagner is a graduating photojournalism major from Knoxville, Tenn. Reach him at [email protected]