I couldn’t be happier near the end

Josh Stanton

As I sit here at the mid-point of my final full semester of school, life is hitting me hard as I realize that my college career is just about up. My student status that has for so long gotten me free drinks at Togo’s, a discounted movie ticket or free admission to hockey games is just about expired. Dear college student, it will be here before you know it. Cue the Relient K hit song “College Kids,”—it’s perfectly relevant.re-JoshIMG_6448

I spent a long time in this phase of college life. After high school, I planned on being a rock star. I dreamt of having my own music studio and touring the world someday. Yet, I was going nowhere fast. So after doubting myself and realizing I was pursuing music for the wrong reasons (girls), I gave in to what most of society told me I should be doing and attended community college for three and a half years with no direction. I’ve always been curious about how the world works, just never so interested in one certain type of study. Frankly, it scared the heck out of me to think that I could potentially be stuck in one line of work for the rest of my life. That’s what I expected college would lead to.Once I began to gain some idea of my preferred field of study in multimedia journalism, I knew that I didn’t just want the normal college town experience for my four year degree.

After hearing from a few high school friends about NMU, I decided to give it a try. After all, the tuition was cheaper than most, and it was set in one of the most beautiful outdoor areas in the Midwest. I wanted adventure, so I took the leap one and a half years ago.Throughout my entire college journey, I made a lot of crucial decisions—my major, my lifestyle as a bachelor and who my life partner would be (my fiancée is incredible). It’s been a long road, yet there’s a lot of experiences that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

As someone who’s been through it, I just wish that someone would’ve encouraged me with some of these suggestions before I had to learn the hard way.

Don’t let people (family, friends, etc.) pressure you into attending college if you’re not ready. If your tuition is going to be paid for straight out of high school by your parents or by a full-ride scholarship, then by all means, do it. The experience is one of a kind but if it’s going to mean attending classes that you have no passion about and all the while going into more debt than Kanye, then you might want to rethink your decision.

Realize that universities are businesses too. Never assume that the school is always looking out for your financial situation. They need to gain students, market to a particular demographic, sell merchandise and become a more reputable brand as much as the next business. I’m not trying to scare you by saying that colleges are the devil, but just be smart and think through your decisions carefully. Don’t let the school make them for you.

Reality is, a degree does not always mean a job (in your chosen field). I know far too many college kids who graduated with upwards of $40,000 in debt, and are stuck working a pizza delivery job just to make the payments. Make sure that your expectations are realistic and whatever you are working at, work hard. Your drive and determination will show where and how you will succeed in life.

Get to know your professors. Take full advantage of not only the scholastic expertise, but of the life wisdom as well. These are people who have jumped through the same hoops, been in your shoes and truly are there to help you succeed.

When the lights go down and graduation is upon me, I will look forward with great excitement. Over spring break, I spent most of my time planning my wedding that is set for this fall, and over this summer I hope to be working in an internship in media production. Take these tips for what they’re worth and realize that though this stage is busy and seemingly endless, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.