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College Education: More than a diploma

The first week of school is a blur for most students and faculty.  There is so much information and activity it’s easy to feel excited and overwhelmed all at the same time.  There is all of the usual stuff to take care of – purchasing books, getting your ID card, making new friends, wondering if you’ve made the right decision…it seems endless.

But it’s not endless.  Ask anyone who has been out of college for a few years and most will tell you that it flew by and they would give anything to be back living their ‘carefree’ days  – oh, how quickly they forget the stresses of school once replaced with the stresses of work life!

The college experience offers so much more if you’re willing to extend yourself beyond your studies.  For many students, their time at college is a time when their worlds get infinitely larger.  I love witnessing this in my students no matter where they are in their educational experience.

Recently, I decided to participate in a charity race to raise money and awareness for a charity I have a great affinity for.  To help raise money, I’m hosting a bake sale on campus and I decided to ‘put the call out’ to my law clerk students to assist me.  It may not seem like a big deal, but it is.  I’m asking students to do something for people they have never met or may have nothing in common with for no other reason than to help.  It will be an additional ‘task’ that they must take on – on top of everything else they are taking on as they embark on their educational adventure. 

Rather than bemoan the millennial stereotype (or whatever generational label is making the rounds these days), I’m choosing to give students opportunities to rise to the occasion, whatever it may be, and so far they have responded.  With each new email offering help, I feel a little more sure that my faith in them has not been misplaced. 

It may ‘just be a bake sale’, but it’s a start. It moves those who choose to get involved towards discovering that there is more to an education than books, tests, and grade reports.

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Kathleen Stewart

Parent, cart-wheeler, teacher, marathoner.

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