What Lies Behind Us and What Lies Before Us Are Tiny Matters Compared to What Lies Within Us

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To My Dear Little Brother: Everything You Must Know About Your Liberal Education Katie Jo Pockat
Environmental Science
University of Wisconsin-Marinette
“I hereby affirm that this is my own work, an original essay, and agree that it will become the property of the UW System Board of Regents and that it can be reproduced in the public domain.” To my dear little brother:

You are a senior this year. You have completed 12 years of reading, writing and arithmetic. As graduation day approaches, you near a very crucial turning point in your life. You will soon depart for college to pursue a liberal education. You may not know what to expect in your new learning environment. As your older sister, I will share with you my experiences as a student. The following excerpt comes from my recollection of my first year of college. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words align with my own ideas about life, specifically college life. College is more than just a pathway to a career, a meager transition between high school and the working world. It is an enlightening experience that creates growth from within you. My first year of college introduced me to a new style of life. “This isn’t high school anymore. I won’t be there to tell you to do your homework or run home to get the work you left on the kitchen table. You’re on your own kiddo.” My mother’s words felt like watching someone wipe gauze over a numbed wound: I could hear her words, but I could not sense the intense sting of their reality. I knew college would differ from high school, but could I truly handle the responsibility of living on my own and driving myself through my own educational career? If college is nothing like high school, then what is it? “Here at our two-year campus, we like to develop a close-knit learning community. If I could offer you just a small tip for college: get to know at least one of your...