Getting more out of school

Have you ever considered that when you ditch a class, you throw away roughly $23? This is approximately the cost of one hour of in-state tuition at this school, assuming 30 weeks of school and a generous 18 hours per week of classes. So why is it that we are willing to ditch a $23 class, but we won’t throw away a $20 baseball ticket? Why will we text during a $23 class, but not during a $10 movie?

Unlike baseball games and movies, school consists of hard work and boredom. You could sit around and play COD all day and avoid these two carcinogens, but you do not (hopefully), you pay for college. Of course you are not paying the money to work. Giving someone $10,000 to perform hard work for them is laughable. You paid $10,000 to Mines for a superior job and future.

Speaking of future, take a second and consider where you want to be in five years. You do not picture yourself working in a cubicle, or being an average engineer, do you? Of course not, you are luxuriously relaxing as the CEO of Microsoft, or being honored in front of millions for finding a cure for HIV. At Mines, we do not expect to find an average job. If we wanted an average job, we would have gone to an average school. But since being a CU pot-smoking liberal does not appeal to us, we decided to go to Mines and challenge ourselves.

In order to be the best, it is crucial to try to soak up as much knowledge as possible. Consider a classroom setting, and think about what actually occurs. Texting, surfing the web, and packing up when the minute hand hits 49. How can we learn this way? How will we evolve to be the great engineers if we are tweeting up a storm in class?

This leads into what I believe are two main issues currently plaguing Mines students. First off, we are too disconnected from our present and future self. If we want future self, present self needs to work hard. That’s the only challenge standing between us and greatness. But of course, we do work hard; how else would Burger King get its 2 AM business? Asking us to work and study even harder may as well be a death sentence. Plus, we do not want to get so lost in our future that we forget to live in the present.

Fortunately, we can work harder and lose almost no time. Instead of working harder away from school, we can work harder at school. Try putting phones in backpacks instead of on desks, or maybe even consider turning the phone off (despite popular belief, this is actually legal). Focus on the teacher. Try actually thinking about the notes written on the chalkboard, instead of mindlessly copying them down. After all, we are paying for an education.

The other issue finds its home in the land of mediocrity. Michelangelo once wrote that “the greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Let’s say Bob, our average Mines student, has a 78% in a class. Bob doesn’t think, “I have to get a 99% to get a B, better start studying,” Bob thinks “I have to get a 20% to keep a C, time to party!” This “giving up mindset,” while it applies to Congress trying to pass a bill, should never apply to us. The greatest people of our generation have never said “good enough.” If we want to be great, we should not either.

Do not settle for average. Get back in touch with your dreams. Dream about where you want to go, and do what you can to help yourself get there.

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