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So an hour or two ago a friend asked me to look at the summary she was writing for her Linkedin profile because she thought my summary was pretty good.  I looked it over and realized I needed to update my own.  That got me on Linkedin looking things over, and I found this new “projects” section.  So I decided to add the carpool board I created to my profile.  It is not really a “big” project, but it is something I am passionate about and I think it shows initiative.  Then I thought some more and decided to add this “Campaign for Endowment Transparency” I did as a freshman.  Which got me thinking….have I been wasting my time at college?

The campaign I am talking about is this project I did in the fall of 2009 as part of my freshman seminar.  To summarize briefly, we did a lot of research on the transparency of peer institutions’ endowment and financial operations.  This came out of a bad grade we received on the Green Report Card (an initiative by the Sustainable Endowments Institute).  Our goal was simply to learn the material and bring it to the attention of the administration.  Ultimately we hoped it would lead to the establishment of a Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) committee.

The project was interesting, and I learned so much from it.  Probably more than all my classes that semester combined.  But between the lack of student support and my own limited interest in the cause I did not pursue further projects.  What I realize now is that I really wish I would have undertaken more initiatives like this.  College is one of those rare times in life that you not only have the freedom to criticize your institution and take on any challenges you like, but also the resources and time to do it.  As I look back I wonder what my experience would have been like if, after finishing the endowment project, I would have picked up another initiative closer to my heart.

I would never actually say I have wasted my college experience.  A lot of great things have come from it, such as my new-found love for sustainable transportation.  The thing is, sometimes I get too caught up with classes and what I “need” to do.   I  earned straight A’s, with few exceptions, for 7 semesters.

But at what cost?