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When in Athens, Wait What Should I Do?: The Wild Race to the Diploma

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s actually just a college student bent on getting ahead.

OK, so we aren’t superheroes. We can’t even fly actually. Now that I realize my Superman reference is becoming more irrelevant by the second, let me introduce the fifth sign I saw upon my journey through the higher education system. Making me wonder if I got lost while travelling away from my hometown roots: The fiercely competitive attitude of the go-ahead to get-ahead college student.

I must have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Thanks a lot, Bugs Bunny.

In my opinion, getting through high school includes a to-do list that is short, sweet and to the point:

  1. Show up.

Tell me that, “stay awake,” should be on that list and I’ll tell you that my daytime cat naps afforded me an A in World History class.

School bells: now built to serve a dual purpose of dismissing class and waking up that one kid in the back who won’t budge. Get them while they last!

But college, my dear sleepy friends, is different. And any student who wants to “make it” learns quickly how to adapt.

College students that are bent on accomplishing the ideal future will stop at nothing to complete their goals. No, not cheating, but specialized tactics and persistency that involve studying, networking and getting involved.

Take cramming for tests. Yes, professors, cramming, because even though you claim that is the wrong way to learn, you still expect us to memorize every dead guy’s birthdate and last known address in case we’re ever expected to know that when we become lawyers or accountants, or if we ever become game show contestants.


Meet the future movers, shakers and Jeopardy winners of America.

So when it comes to studying, I’ve seen it all. I personally have downed the ever-so-addicting- 5 Hour Energy drink to pull an all-nighter.

“Only one, you say? What a lightweight.”

I’ve seen people camp out in the library, including a photo taken of a friend of a friend who made a tent in the Ohio State University library out of bed sheets.

When someone calls the circulation desk and asks for an extra bath towel to be sent up because, as perusual, they only provided three, libraries might need to start charging room rates.

Then there are the dedicated students who will go to great length to do well on a paper or project.

“Well, I was all done, and then I realized one of the lines I drew for my graph was slightly askew, so I decided to start over.”

Studying and making good grades isn’t everything of course. In college, networking is also essential. A fellow Journalism student once asked me if I had gotten the chance yet to have coffee with our professor.

As a naïve freshman at the time, all I could think of was “Gee, he’s not really my type.” Oh whoops, you.

In addition to studying and networking, success in college is also dependent on what you do outside the classroom meant to gain him as a future reference. I was just kidding classroom. To say the least, no job listing will ever include, “applicant must be trained in doing absolutely nothing all day.”

Extra-curricular activity is what I was referring to, in case you’re a little frustrated that you are very proficient in doing nothing all day.

Well-rounded or busy-bodied, call it whatever you want, it’s those who know how to up their real world experience and maximize campus and community involvement that will be the difference between hired and considered.

I’ve seen plenty of students, including myself, dive into a variety of organizations and causes on campus to accomplish this ideal.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go end world hunger, deliver today’s radio-weather report and then help a remedial math student pass pre-calculus.

Jackie Runion is a sophomore studying journalism and a columnist for The Post. Email her at

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