At NU you might learn much, just not while in class

It is scary enough that my three years at Northwestern have elapsed faster than a Chicago Cubs lead with Jeff Fassero on the mound. It would be frightening indeed to ponder adding any burdensome tasks to my present chores of cleaning my room and doing my laundry.

I therefore consider myself fortunate to be the lone columnist who will be returning to campus next year.

Upon nearing completion of my junior year, I have learned much (not in the classroom, of course).

I have learned that college is nothing if it is not going to Cubs games on weekday afternoons, doing countless impersonations of the strange kid in your economics class and hoarding all of your roommate’s possessions when he abruptly leaves the apartment two weeks before school ends.

Why attend NU if not to read on the rocks by the lake, attend speeches by former independent counsel Kenneth Starr and Arizona Sen. John McCain, play Frisbee and football in the sun, or in the snow, and eat deep-dish pizza.

My college career would not have been complete if I had not gone on Project Wildcat, studied abroad, spent a summer in Evanston and spent nearly $200 replacing keys I lost while in a mosh pit on Dillo Day.

Not everything I have learned at NU, however, is as sublime as a cloudless May day. While I look forward to another year of stimulating professors and thrilling course material, I regret that an NU grade point average is a terribly poor reflection of a student’s knowledge of the material.

You tell me the true value of grades when easy professors give out A’s like candy on Halloween while stringent professors set quotas for how many students receive A’s and naive professors, not knowing what grades to give out, ask the class, “Is grade inflation an issue here?”

You tell me how much grades reflect mastery of lectures and text when copies of old tests are accessible to fraternity and sorority members, but perhaps not to others.

I have learned that sometimes it is best not to ask a professor to re-read a paper on which he gave you a bad grade. Sometimes he will take an entire quarter to look again at it – and then tell you that if he could grade it again, he’d give it a worse grade.

When I look back on the last three years, it is what took place outside of the classroom that I will long remember.

How can I forget shunning sleep and sanity in favor of dancing for 30 crazy hours? Or opting for a thrilling week of hiking and camping over relaxation and hygiene by going on Project Wildcat?

Looking ahead to next year, I again anticipate leisurely spending my lunch hour in the dining hall with four newspapers spread before me, engrossed to the point of saying not a word to my friends at the table.

I can hardly wait for another African Night and Thai Night to interact with the international community – and grab some tasty food.

And if nothing else, I can always write more columns.