It's been a while since I've been done with college now, and I need to talk about something today: getting a holistic college education. You may have read the word holistic before, it's usually attached to something describing the college admissions process or health. I am here to talk about the term holistic as it relates to the college education you get.
You see, I was never one of those students who obsessed over my grades. I studied, I went to class, I worked hard, but I didn't obsess. Besides doing all of the standard education things I also: joined a sorority, hung out with my friends, spent many a night hanging on to pizza and watching Netflix, etc. You see, I decided that grades weren't the end all be all. I never did all-nighters for class, and I didn't obsess over making every single paper pitch perfect.
Grades are important in college, but you shouldn't focus on them so much that it harms other aspects of your life. Today I am chatting about creating a holistic college education so that you can create an education that matters in college and beyond.
Grades Don't Matter As Much After College
Before I begin this point, this is not saying that grades NEVER matter after college. You'll likely use your grades to get into things like graduate school or specific fellowships. I will say, though, that in my experience my grades haven't mattered all that much. I didn't use this an excuse to get terrible grades in college. In fact, I finished my college degree with a 3.46 GPA. Not awful, not honors amazing, but just right for me. I went on to complete my Master's with a 3.889 GPA though.
I'll say this; grades didn't matter a ton. I believe that all I needed to get into my particular Master's program was a 3.0 overall, a 3.0 in all of my Sociology courses, and at least a B in some of my core Sociology courses. So, yes grades matter, but most people overestimate what it takes to get a B or even an A.
In most college courses, it comes down to trying. Are you:
- Trying to learn?
- Attending your classes?
- Doing the work assigned to you?
- Asking for help when you need it most?
- Studying some outside of class to reinforce learned material?
If you are doing these things, chances are you will get an excellent grade in a class. It takes a whole lot of non-effort to fail a class. Most professors will bend over backward to make you understand the material and succeed in their course. They cannot be the only ones bending though.
So, yes grades matter in some contexts, but you don't have to stress over them as much as you'd think.
It's also important to note that most employers just love that you were able to conquer college to get a degree. They aren't going to ask for specific GPAs; they just want to know that you have a degree and that you feel comfortable with the job description. It's okay to show off that fantastic GPA, though! Do it! But realize that you likely won't be penalized if you don't have a 4.0.
College Is One Of The Last Times It Will Be Super Easy To Make Friends
One of the big reasons that you need to focus on a holistic college education, in my opinion, is that this will be the last time that it will be super easy to make real friends. Work friends are amazing, but they usually only matter at work. Sometimes you can turn a work friend into a real friend, but we all have our own lives.
College friends are amazing. You spend four years living basically right next door to all your favorite people. You go to class together, study together, and you can even go on late night adventures to Walmart together at the drop of a hat.
That doesn't happen in the adult world. Adults have more responsibilities like families, bills, and work commitments in the morning. Going to Walmart at 1 AM just isn't in the cards for most adults.
You have something special here. Not everyone gets the college experience. Some people just go straight into the working world, and they don't get to experience the genuine camaraderie of college friendships.
Girl, you are living a unicorn life here!
Don't miss this opportunity to get those amazing friends that you will love and cherish for years to come, even after you can't make that late night Walmart trip anymore.
Memories Won't Be Made From The Time You Spent Studying All By Yourself
I don't remember much of those nights when I was holed up in a study room by myself preparing hard for an upcoming test. My brain has long forgotten the memories I have on my bed studying random sociological articles and science slides. Instead, I remember the late night trips to Old Chicago after chapter meetings, the football game and tailgates, and the times I spent studying with friends in the library.
I remember the times I was with other people most. Those are the memories my brain decided were important to me.
If you want to live a remarkably fulfilled life as a student, you need to get out of study alone mode. Get out and make some memories. Go to a game, a play, a networking event on campus. Have your friends over for dinner, visit your friend's hometown for the weekend, watch Legally Blonde in your pajamas with your friends too many times to count. Most of all, go to midnight movie premieres, dance your heart out at concerts, and never turn down the chance to get Fro-Yo (or ice cream or cupcakes.)
Those are the memories worth making, y'all.
Self-Care Is Vital, Even In College
Another reason that I love getting a holistic college education is that self-care is vital. Everyone needs self-care, even college students. Many people put out a false narrative that college students don't get stressed or that they shouldn't be stressed. There is so much to stress out about in college. Almost too many things to be honest.
When it comes to college, you have to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself means doing stuff like:
- Drinking water
- Getting enough movement
- Hanging out with friends and family
- Sleeping regularly
- Studying not cramming
- Washing your hands consistently
All of these simple self-care activities will help you live a better life as a student. Instead of flying by the seat of your pants, you are well-rested and unbothered. I am all about taking care of yourself because getting sick in college is no joke. Missing a single class can set you back in a course for days and even weeks. Being sick also impacts those around you.
So, I spent my time in college making sure that between all the studying I was doing for courses, I was taking care of myself. No one is there to take care of you in college, you gotta do that on your own. The best thing that you can do is make sure that you have those treat yourself days. You should have more than treat yourself days, though. You should focus on yourself for at least 30 minutes every single day.
Making Time For Yourself Daily
Let's break down what I just said further. You may be staring at your computer thinking I am crazy for asking you to focus on yourself for 30 minutes every day. You may say, “My time is already stretched. You're telling me I need to go to class, study, sleep right, hang out with my friends and family, and THEN focus on myself every single day? What kind of madness is this?”
Okay, so full caveat, I have two degrees in Sociology. I know that my education wasn't as rigorous as a degree like Biology or Nursing. I also know in my heart of hearts, that you make time for what you want to make time for.
It's not easy to spend time focusing on yourself, but you also need to think about the time you spend every day doing things that aren't so productive or helpful.
I am sure you spend a considerable amount of time scrolling on social media or online shopping. I am asking you to evaluate the time you spend daily, so you can fix those tendencies you have for passive activities throughout the day.
Take some of the time you spend on passive activities like social media scrolling, and make that time more active and intentional. Putting aside thirty intentional minutes per day to focus on your growth and self is vital.
Here are some things you can do during this time:
- Take a power nap
- Read or listen to an audiobook
- Get in a quick workout
- Improve your skills (outside of coursework) with an online course
- Organize and clean your room
Related Reading: Seven Ways To Focus On Self-Care When You Feel Like You Don’t Deserve It; 101 30-Day Self-Care Challenge Ideas by Mindful Productivity Blog
Networking Is Always Important (In College And Beyond)
Last, but not least, I believe in a holistic college education because networking is one of the most important things for any college graduate. It's not always about what you know. You also need to know people who can get you where you want to be.
When you can invest in yourself and get out of your study zone, you can network with so many amazing people on college campuses. A sorority, an academic organization, a sports team, or any of the other ways you meet people on college campuses can help you later on. If you are stuck studying, you can't explore and focus on building your network.
Now is the perfect time to work on building your network. You have time to attend networking events and grow your personal brand.
Get out there and make those connections.
Conclusion: Go After A Holistic College Education
I understand that grades are important. You need good grades to keep your scholarships, go to graduate school, and live a great life. I am not saying that you should abandon traditional measures of college success completely.
The purpose of this article is to get you to see college life holistically. I am all about approaching college from a multivariate perspective. It's not just about the grades you can earn, but also about the friendships, networks, and memories you will have after you graduate.