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Lifelong learning begins with an open mind

According to the last stall door in the ladies’ room outside the journalism lab, “Life is full of wanders.”

Rather than assume the author was merely a bad speller, I like to think the double meaning was intentional. Life is indeed full of wanders, adventures and experiences, each one an opportunity for learning.

That’s what college is all about anyway, right?

I’m not just talking about the learning that takes place in a lecture hall or science lab. Learning doesn’t just happen while class is in session.

Learning happens on the athletic field and in the band hall. Learning happens at the lunch table and in the residence halls. Learning happens doing a keg stand or even skipping class.

Whether its practicing a new basketball play, talking to people from different backgrounds at lunch or getting to class on time (or almost) after a night of hard partying, college experiences teach vital lessons with benefits extending far past graduation day.

The keys to making each of these a learning experience are an open mind and resourcefulness. An open and resourceful mind can translate those out-of-class adventures and encounters into reference guides on social interaction, teamwork, even time management.

Lessons learned on a college campus travel into family life and the workplace. Learning how to balance school and social life and still meet deadlines and have some fun along the way prepares college students for the challenges of finding a happy medium in the workforce.

People look at me funny when I say I’m a senior at TJC.

After the puzzled looks demand clarification, I explain that I’m working on my second attempt at a college degree. With 90-something hours of college credit, I’ve certainly learned a few things, some academic, many not. I’ve learned a lot about how not to succeed in college. While I may not yet have a piece of paper certifying my education, my adventures and misadventures have taught me more than a class ever could.

This semester especially has been a learning adventure as I’ve played and struggled and laughed and cried working on this newspaper. Sometimes everything falls into place effortlessly, but more often than not, what you see on the printed page is the result of two weeks of breakneck-paced chaos.

I’ve learned more about myself and about what I’m doing and what I want to be doing someday than I ever expected to. When I had the option to take the easy way, I usually, maybe stupidly, dismissed it and did it the hard way. That’s the best way to learn, by making mistakes.

Thanks to the equally hard work of my fellow editors and the support and encouragement of our awesome advisor, Laura Krantz, we walked away from this spring’s Texas Intercollegiate Press Association awards ceremony with 11 awards for little paper and plan on winning a few more before it’s all said and done. If it weren’t for the help and support of my team of editors, especially Trevor Bethea, Faith Harper and Cody Lillich I may not have survived the semester.

So now I leave the paper in the capable hands of next year’s editors. It’s your turn now.

Make me proud!

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