A comprehensive education: exploring unlimited potential | PostIndependent.com

A comprehensive education: exploring unlimited potential

To some, college is a place of study, not to be taken lightly – to others, it is a hotspot for diverse, uncharted social interaction. And while no method is incorrect, I spent my first year somewhat differently, exploring my options, more like a child in a candy store than a young adult entering academia.

This is not to be mistaken for apathy; I took my work very seriously, as it was my choice to attend college in the first place. However, I explored career options lightly – looking to acquire knowledge, experience and skill over accumulation of credits, keeping in mind that studying mathematics would not sentence me to a lifetime of Algebra 121.

If something intrigued me, I would do one of two things: dive deeper into it, or move on to something new after due investigation, something rich with untried potential. If a class didn’t offer what I was looking for, I would order books from the library and study it on my own time.

As I progressed through different fields of study, I did not discard information or discount any experience. I simply moved forward, in search of new avenues to explore, trades to master and places to see. After all, why couldn’t I be a jack of all trades, master taste-tester of the candy store?

And so, I moved from majoring in physics to majoring in psychology. Along the way, I joined Student Activities and Student Government. I tried my hand at para-medicine and became a certified Wilderness First Responder.

I attended national student leadership conferences, and was elected the vice president of the student body. I casually joined an acting class and provided myself with an outstanding, and entirely unexpected, mental challenge – throwing my introverted self on stage and screaming about worms and dirt for a live audience.

Before attending Colorado Mountain College, I traveled extensively, studying Spanish in Peru and Guatemala, and culture in Ireland, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China and Japan. I have backpacked through Guatemala, Belize, California, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada. I have worked in construction, as a bartender, with law enforcement, on the Navajo reservation selling tacos and as a waitress.

From these experiences I have learned that getting an education is not limited to a classroom. I have learned that understanding the world means experiencing it and not just reading about it. I have learned that a real education comes from one’s own motivation to know, to see, to feel and to understand. In all of this, and most importantly, I have developed an appreciation for what the future holds, for all I have yet to discover.

Mariah Loraine just finished her first year at Colorado Mountain College where she is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree with a psychology emphasis. She plans to continue her education and work towards a master’s degree.

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