My parents, who, of course knew more than I ever imagined they
did, were right. And so were my aunt and uncle. But heedlessly, I
went forth, headlong into the world of university academia. And
even though I arrived with over a semesters worth of college
credit, I was mired in the beauracracy that is any university (or a
large one) for five and a half years.
Did I change my major? Well once and just to a different
concentration in the same school. Did I transfer? Yes. Did I study
abroad? Yes. Do I have more than one major? Yes. Should any of that
have kept me in school for the time that I was? No.
So what does this have to do with graduation?
Just this: the principle of what you get is what you pay for,
which is so vaunted in our capitalistic system but does not apply
to your college education. Do not believe that everyone on campus
is looking out for your best interest. They aren’t.
My journalism advisor kept me going to school for another
semester simply because her advising was incorrect. Did the
journalism school take that into account when I asked for the
courses that I had taken to be counted for the ones that were
required? Well, I know you all know the answer to that.
My time at Colorado State University was, however, not ill
spent. There are professors who taught me things that I am grateful
for. Among them are John Gravdahl, Bob Coonts and Kim Ferrar in the
art department and Patrick Plaisance and Jim Landers in the
However, the biggest lesson I learned here is that you must
ultimately be responsible for everything in your life. Your
advisors largely don’t know what classes you are supposed to take.
So know them yourself. Your majors and the professors in them will
not teach you everything you need to know about the field or fields
that you are going into. So go beyond the school and get real world
Most importantly, realize that school was largely a long,
tedious game. Don’t gasp. How many of you graduating remember even
half of what you learned in your general ed classes? Very few I
bet. Most of us learned how to take as many classes as we could,
cramming for most tests in the last hours before we were to take
it. Is this learning? Is this what we paid for as our
The wise will take lessons from this into the new lives that we
are about to start. Make sure that what you are about to purchase
is indeed worth the price. But realize what is the true price
before you make that assessment. Surround yourselves with people
who are supportive and most importantly honest, like my parents who
warned me that college would be less of the paradise that I thought
and more of the disappointment that I experienced.
Be proud of what you accomplished. And remember life is much
like CSU, without the proper view on things; it will be a long,
tedious game to get through. But life is too short for that.
*Liz King is graduating largely because of her family. She will
have two degrees and has already started what she hopes will be an
inspiring career in print design. She would like to thank her
parents, grandparents and God for giving her the strength to make