University can be a controversial place. So many different demographics, ideologies, and opinions are all gathered into one academic hub, and most of the times they don't mesh. Arguments tend to be the byproduct of such collisions of ideals, but sometimes something much more beneficial arises. You learn something, something new from another person you never would have before. Such knowledge doesn't come from a textbook, a graph, or a computer screen, it comes from the zany and eclectic peers around you. With that truth in mind, here are five things you'll learn in University that don't come from a book.
Partying can be a learning experience
Frosh has always gotten a lot of hate by those who are entirely focused on academics. The truth is, I learned a lot more about myself in those few days than I did in most university courses, at least in terms of how I interact with others and how well I can handle myself independently. Sure, alcohol is involved, and you make some dumb choices, but mistakes are how you learn, whether you're sober or not. The same applies for partying/going out in general. There is a lot more street smarts involved than people think when it comes to going to a party or bar. Knowing how to interact with your fellow man in a social setting is an invaluable skill, one that will probably take you farther than a useless fact. Moderation is key, of course, as you did come to university to do some book learning too. Keep that in mind the next time someone gives you guff for going out too much.
Stereotypes exist, but they're not written in stone
During my time at university, I joined and helped establish a fraternity for gay, bisexual, and progressive men. Known as Delta Lambda Phi, it helped me to better understand gay and straight stereotypes. When joining DLP, I didn't know too many other gay men, and due to my small town influences, had the same biased view of gay culture that ignorant people generally do. I'm talking the whole girly/queeny archetype. Fortunately, I learned I was wrong, and I'm still surprised at the wholly unique men who continually join the fraternity.
Then there's the whole 'frat-bro- stereotype. DLP is part of McGill's Greek society, and before I participated in any Greek event, I anticipated a bunch of macho drunk dudes and girly girls. Ok, so there was some of that, but almost everyone I met was so much more than what people made them out to be. Just because they were in a fraternity/sorority didn't make them super douchey, in fact they were mostly genuine and nice people who were wholly supportive of DLP on campus.
All in all, stereotypes exist because they're mass generalizations. Don't let them consume your perspective on a group of people.
Other cultures are weird, and it's awesome
My first year at University was spent living with three other guys, each of us from a different nation around the world. Our small residence-apartment held an American from San Fran, a fellow from the south of France, a Pakistani gentleman, and a small white boy from the 'burbs of Toronto. Needless to say, going in we didn't have too much in common. The first few weeks were little weird, as we each tried to figure out each others vibes, and liken them to things we have known before. But that was the catch. At least for myself, I had never interacted so closesly with people who were raised in environments so drastically different from my own. Without even having to travel the world, I got to experience a foreign culture, maybe not in the same way or to the same degree, but I learned the sentiments and ideals of places I had never been to. You'll meet so many diverse individuals in University, so try and see it as a voyage into another culture's mindset. You may learn something.
Becoming a real person is equally shitty and self-satisfying
Going off to university means finally cutting the umbilical cord and leaving mom and pop, at least for a lot of students. On the one hand, you have total freedom and independence. On the other, well you basically have to care for yourself and get everything in order, academically and personally, all on your own. No more mom to do the laundry, dad to get the groceries, or bills miraculously taken care of. Nope, you're on your own, and although its super stressful at times, there is a certain sense of accomplishment. Nobody else can take credit for your deeds, whether good or bad, because it was all you baby. Relish in your new found independence. It may be tough, but its worth it to not become a 40 year old weirdo still living with their parents.
You can't please everyone, and that's ok
First jumping into the university social scene, you want to meet and become friends with everyone. During Frosh that seems like a plausible goal, but once the alcohol wears off and real life sets in, you may find you don't really mesh with everyone around you. Some people probably feel the same way about you. You may not like their brand of humour, they may not like your political viewpoints, and you both hate on that rando in your class who won't shut up and let the professor talk. Not liking someone, for no real or concrete reason, isn't a crime, its a fact of life. The only thing is to be an adult about it. Don't be petty and hate on them from afar, rant about them, or pick fights. Accept your dislike and focus on the the people you do want to be around. Besides, there are probably more than a few people who hate your guts too.
Do you have a university lesson that wasn't learned in class? Think these pieces of knowledge don't compare to what you learn in books? Let us know in the comments below.