It’s Here for the Taking

“The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It can be argued that college is nothing more than an opportunity. Enrolling at a college does not guarantee success. Admission into a college guarantees nothing more than a reserved seat in five classes a semester. It elicits a chance to listen to the ideals and teachings of professors who have become experts in a field of study. A college may offer programs or extracurricular activities that facilitate in preparing you for work in the real world in your chosen field of study. Varied and diverse people may attend the school, offering an insight into different cultures. A college can offer you all the elements needed to have a fulfilling and successful life, but these elements are nothing more than a bullet point on a pamphlet in the admissions office until those opportunities are seized by willing students. Opportunities on campus at any college are limitless, but opportunities are nothing when they fall into complacent hands. I may be nothing more than a mere freshman, but already I have seen the limitless amounts of opportunities that are present in college.

Academics. This is where the first opportunity of college presents itself. The grades that people have received through their entire academic career no longer matter. Whatever college someone may be attending does not worry about past academic failures and successes. Bygones will be bygones; a clean slate is created. As a freshman, I am entitled to a new beginning. I have the opportunity to either relish this opportunity and strive for excellence, or I can just continue putting minimal effort into my school work. The opportunity to begin college with a strong academic record is present. I am given the chance to listen and actually learn from faculty members who have made it their job to make myself a more intelligent individual. Some people grasp the opportunity, but others, as it has become apparent already, tend to inculcate themselves with the idea that they are too busy or that they are just too “cool” for all of the extra activities. It is of human nature that we rationalize all of our decisions; we can convince ourselves that sometimes the wrong decision is the right one.

Extracurricular activities. This is a topic that can make me quite angry. Most colleges offer an absurd number of clubs and activities that students are welcomed and encouraged to become involved in. Many of the clubs and activities offered can also be important  in preparing students for their chosen career paths. A strong resume after college will need to consist of numerous clubs so that it becomes possible to set oneself apart from other students that will be searching for jobs directly after graduation. I’m certainly not attempting to persuade anybody to join a club that they are not interested in, but if it can be done without interfering with school work, then every effort should be made to do so. Connections can be made, friendships can grow and opportunities will arise.

Opportunities do not only present themselves in academic situations. Opportunities on college campuses happen at any time of the day and at any location. They are infinite. Some are harmful; the opportunity to drink alcohol or take part in any type of destructive behavior. Others, however, are beneficial;  the opportunity to meet someone new, hold the door for someone which can spark a conversation and maybe even being able to fall in love.

It can be overwhelming and sometimes difficult to understand how each opportunity that presents itself can have a dramatic impact a person’s life. Each action has a series of implications that may be insignificant or of dire importance. It can change the course of someone’s life or just be another moment of unimportance. Each moment is fleeting and so are the opportunities that accompany them.

“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.” – Benjamin Franklin