My college experience and best advice – Friend

Note: This is part of a series on my experience and best advice for college.

11. Friended.

Someone once said that the benefit of attending Harvard or Princeton isn’t the information you learn but the people you meet.

I agree. Sure, the education is outstanding, the courses rigorous, and the professors brilliant, but anyone brilliant enough to get into one of those universities would manage to find the information anyway.

The information itself isn’t necessarily worth the extra cost to attend.

No, the real benefit is that those universities are densely populated with some of the smartest people in the world. And by attending, you have the opportunity to connect with them, to friend them.

I think the same is true for any university (or anywhere really). As the tired, old saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters.

Often people say, “I’m not here to socialize. I’m here to learn.”

“Learn to do what?” I respond. “More importantly, why are you there to learn?”

I remember spending hours with friends “studying” for exams. I soon learned that, for me anyway, study groups weren’t the most productive use of my time (asking specific questions over the phone was more productive for me).

But the time I “wasted” with those friends is what I remember now, not the information I was supposed to be studying.

You might say my education was a failure then since I didn’t retain even half of what I studied. But was it? Really?

Two months after I graduated, I didn’t care much about my GPA, but I did care about my friends. I’m not saying to be an idiot in school, but I am saying to keep perspective. The best, business investors invest in people, not ideas. I think that approach is best for anyone investing in college too.

At the end of your life or anywhere in between, what really matters? Your grades and degrees or your friends and family?

Even if you are in it just for the grades and degrees, friend anyway – they might be the encouragement you need in the middle of the night two years into it when you feel like giving up.

[By the way, I wrote something very similar for a blog called Christian in College... because it's one of the best pieces of advice I have for college students.]