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#HonorsProblems: Reflections of a Senior; or How I Learned the True Value of College

The following blog post was written by Peer Advisor Benji, an SMPA senior studying political communication.

We live in a society that wants to quantify every measure of our lives: Facebook tells me I have 1,060 friends; I have a 4.81 Uber rating; and my Fitbit reports that I didn’t get my 10,000 steps yesterday. As each new app, technology, or website measures a different portion of our lives, there is one pressing question that has evaded calculation – how do you measure the value of an education at the George Washington University?

Is it in hours spent in Gelman Library? – A lot.

Trips on the Vex? – A decent amount.

Dining dollars spent at Whole Food? – One too many.

There are a lot of different metrics – in the classroom and outside of it – that can be used to explain the value of attending GW, all of them impressive on a resume.  While these numbers say a lot about the quality of this university, they don’t tell you much about the value of your time in Foggy Bottom. As much as these numbers can tell you how awesome college was, they could also make you feel inadequate. In our rush to put a number on everything – whether it be Instagram likes or grade point average – we end up in a cycle of needless competition. Instead of celebrating each other’s achievements, we compare ourselves to one another and judge those who don’t meet arbitrary standards.

So how do you gauge the value of a GW education?

You can’t – at least not by any conventional definition – because the value of a GW education is only realized when we cherish the things that cannot be measured, and celebrate the singular achievements of every individual.

Whether you are a senior on your way out or a freshman still getting lost around Foggy Bottom, each one of us takes a unique journey through college that is special to every single person in his or her own way. What transpires in your four years cannot be boiled down to one number. Not the power of the connections each student makes with their peers and their professors or the value of learning new ways of thinking, having ideas challenged, and gaining new perspectives.

So shrug off whatever preconceived notions you may hold about what college is supposed to be. Join a club – or don’t. Go abroad – or stay in DC. The story of college is not written in a blue book; there are no right answers, only right attitudes. No matter if you have two months of undergrad left or two years, embrace every moment of your singular journey. Therein lies the value of a GW education.


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