Aug 312010
Authors: Jonathan Kastner

College, as we all know, is about getting an education.

Potential employers are eager for the droplets of wisdom that will dribble out of our mouths like the spilled side-beer from the mouths of free young men and women around the world. This, dear fellows, is what our future employers expect of us.

Yet it may surprise you to know that some people try to do more with their college. No, not attending class. No one does that after the first day –– go to class and see for yourself. Some people try to get involved in the actual college-experience part of college.

Drinking and regret would be your natural next guess as to what I am talking about, but again, no.

Liquid entertainment is a part of it for a good deal of students, and in moderation and at the legal age (all of you are going to wait, right?) there’s nothing wrong with this aspect of college.
But this also is not the college experience.

Defining the college experience is not simple, and any definition will ultimately be arbitrary. However, thanks to my Bachelor of Arts in English, I am fully qualified to select an arbitrary definition, declare it to be utterly true and defend that definition to the death of my pen. My personal definition, and hence truth, is that the college experience involves doing this in addition to being educated.

A lot of people are going to graduate with a degree. A Bachelor of Arts or Sciences puts you ahead automatically, but take a look around one of those classrooms. If it was the first day, it would be really, really crowded. You need to stand out.

Getting involved would make you stand out, in a student organization or otherwise worthwhile hobby or part-time job. And that, dear readers, is exactly what you must not do.
Standing out would mean being different, and different people are weird and horrible. In order to have any chance at all at employment, blend in. Be incredibly, overwhelming average.

Follow the example of the magnificent wallflower, nature’s most determined blossom. Even in shady, indoor environments, perhaps over by a punch bowl or at the back of a classroom blissfully at rest, the mighty wallflower knows that to stand out, one would have to risk consequence.

Let me illustrate my point. What do you wear to a job interview? A plain suit that makes you look just like everyone else. Do you wear bright, unique colors? Do you have enormous, neon-colored hair? Do you have a puffy red nose? Not unless you are applying to be a clown or a serial killer you don’t.

When you apply to a job, your resume goes into a pile with dozens of other resumes at best and thousands at worst. Anyone that stands out in that crowd is going to be, by definition, an abnormal person. The last thing you want is a potential employer thinking you are not entirely

To avoid the college experience, then, and remain safely normal, just take a few simple steps. Do not, under any circumstances, get involved with a student-run organization. Not only are you immediately in the minority of students who do such things, your specific club will inevitably make you even more abnormal.

A quick word of warning –– the Student Involvement Expo is out on the Lory Student Center Plaza right now (unless it rained, snowed, hailed or death-hailed). If you go out right now and find something you enjoy, you run a risk of gaining an employer’s attention as a non-typical candidate.

So, stay inside, be normal, maybe watch some TV, and I wish you all a bland and uninteresting rest of the school year.

Johnathan Kastner is in his second year of his second bachelor degree, majoring in computer science. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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