Students should prioritize learning


By Yunjo Jeong

College is an exciting time for most of the students here at the University. In college, everything is different than in high school and middle school, from the scale of campus size to course workload and variety. Overall, college life is full of awesome, new opportunities. 

The four years during which students prepare for their final stages of being who they’ve been for most of their lives — students — are valuable not only academically, but also socially.

As I experience college life, I see that many students have a lot of fun. Parties, outings and even simple games in the open lounge of the residence hall are all types of merriment students partake in on campus.

It is good to see college students enjoying entertainment in an academic setting with seemingly comfortable ease. You can see it on their faces; to me, most students do not look perpetually stressed out, but rather seem to be doing their work and enjoying life at the same time.

But, at the risk of sounding like a mother, students should make sure they spend enough time focusing on their academics. After all, students still have a lot to learn, and classes, designed to prepare them for life after graduation, should always be the first priority. 

And with the University readily providing so many academic opportunities such as internships and research, students should also take advantage of these experiences. In doing so, they’ll be better prepared for the workforce.

It’s not about sitting in the library all day long, poring over thick textbooks and busily writing papers; it’s more about fulfilling the responsibilities any student has. A student’s basic responsibilities are not too complicated; one only has to go to class, do homework and take exams. While pursuing extra opportunities is beneficial, it is not required.

I admit it. Freedom is important, and students are perfectly allowed to do whatever they wish, within the boundaries of University regulations. Students are free to choose not to go to class and to instead make their own priorities. But I disagree with this choice. 

Whatever priorities students may make, I feel there are some duties that should not be forgotten.

Entertainment and having fun are certainly important and an inevitable part of student life. But sometimes, I feel students should remind themselves of their main role on this campus: being students and preparing for their futures. 

Call me stuffy, but I think there are some basic rules that students should stick to. 

Go to class. It’s not for anybody else; it’s solely for your own sake. Learn more, and get prepared for your future. The University has world-class faculty who have written books and won awards. They’ve found the kind of success most of us one day hope to find. 

Not only can these educators provide us with useful information, but they can also serve as references and mentors when we have academic concerns or when the time comes to search for jobs. But if you do not regularly show up to class, you will likely miss out on those benefits.      

It’s quite cliché, saying that people should study for the future, but it’s the truth. Accounting majors could never find work in their fields if they didn’t learn the intricacies of income statements and balance sheets, nor could engineering majors master their fields without first mastering the mathematics and physics required for their majors. 

And sometimes self-studying these in-depth courses is not as effective as learning from professors.

Students should also do more than just go to class; they should be on time. Attendance really does not amount to anything if you show up to class five minutes before the session ends. Don’t wake up ten minutes before class starts and slowly stroll over to the classroom; wake up just a few minutes earlier and get to class when it starts, instead of walking into a classroom in the middle of class and disturbing everyone else who was there on time, ready to learn.

Social gatherings are important. Friends are important. But college is different than lower-levels of school. High schools and middle schools asked students to study hard and stay focused at all times. College doesn’t necessarily ask for that; at least, no one gets detention for skipping. 

College is more about becoming an adult. 

We are in a transitional stage, in which we have both the characteristics of an adult and a student. With the increased freedom in college, students are taught to become responsible.

I feel that students, while being responsible for their actions and enjoying themselves, should remember their most important priority: learning.

Yunjo is a freshman in Engineering. He can be reached at [email protected]