Simonson Says: College life has its perks

We all know the college and university students who endlessly bemoan the hardships of student life: the overwhelming debt and/or bills, the accompanying necessity of working long hours in frequently thankless jobs, the steady diet of ramen, the grueling hours of homework for classes they already give enough of their time to, boring or unfair professors, the near-impossible balancing act of school with family and social needs, and their faltering immune systems brought on by all the above stress.

We all know them, because we are them.

And we’re not exactly wrong; school can be extremely stressful, draining our energy, health and wallets. But I still realize how much I’ll miss many aspects of the university experience when it’s no longer part of my daily life.

So, to take a break from our regularly scheduled programming of feeling sorry for ourselves for being poor and overworked, I’d like to acknowledge some perks of college life, specifically at Weber State University, that we often take for granted and might sorely miss when we’re out of here.

1. Affordable health services: The Health Center in the Student Services Building has been a life-saver for me, because they offer free appointments and advice to students for common health concerns like colds, sore throats, bronchitis and the flu. The doctors there are always friendly and helpful, ready to answer any questions students have and provide prescriptions for very affordable medications. We also have a dental clinic in the Marriott Health Building that offers preventive care at low fees, which many students seem to be unaware of. Just as important is the Counseling and Psychological Services Center; schools are hotbeds of stress, anxiety and depression, and our center has some excellent counselors equipped to help us with these issues. Once we’re out of school, we’re going to be paying big bucks for services we got for free at WSU.

2. Academic help resources: When we’re not students anymore, if we want to learn or really get better at something, we might either have to pay private tutors or trust the not-so-infinite wisdom of the Internet. At WSU, we can get free, quality tutoring in just about any subject. The Writing Center, for instance, employs certified tutors to help strengthen your writing and provide feedback not just for school papers, but for anything you’ve written that needs a second set of eyes and someone who knows what to look for, like resumes or creative projects. And who didn’t/doesn’t need a little help getting through math? Well, except for you weirdos to whom it comes easily, who are probably the very people tutoring at The Hub. I can’t actually think of any major subjects that don’t offer tutoring, supplemental instruction hours or other forms of academic support at WSU. I doubt our jobs in the real world will all be so determined to help us personally learn and succeed; they’ll just dock our pay or fire us. Speaking of which . . .

3. Employment opportunities: While I love that WSU offers good jobs to people all across the board, many jobs are specifically tailored to students, and we need it. On-campus jobs are accommodating of our school schedules and homework loads in a way most other jobs wouldn’t be. Especially helpful is that WSU offers students jobs in just about every area you can think of. My work experience here has taught me more about my chosen field than many of my classes have — not because classes aren’t invaluable, but you just can’t beat real work experience to get your feet wet. What better way to learn than by doing? Not to mention the Career Services Center, which offers counseling and advice for our future jobs.

4. Recreation: One of my favorite things about WSU is it really tries to offer us everything in one place. Many of us not only take classes and go to work here; we can also have fun or just relax here. There’s the bowling alley and billiards for just hanging out. There’s the Stress Management Lab for kicking back and unwinding. You can work out in the gym, run laps, play basketball with friends, swim, or climb the rock wall in the Stromberg Complex. You can even play video games in the library. I personally think that little museum in the Lind Lecture Hall is pretty fun too. And those are just the constants; something different is going on here every day by way of performances, parties and general activities.

5. Communities for everyone: It might sound cheesy, but WSU really is doing a good job of offering communities and resources for everyone. There are clubs and centers for so many different cultures, demographics and their needs; we have the International Student Center, the Nontraditional Student Center, Veterans Services, the Women’s Center, and we’re getting an LGBTQ Center soon. It seems like I see a flier for a new club representing a different heritage, religion or culture every day. Colleges and universities remain one of the few environments where diversity truly seems to be celebrated rather than just tolerated.

I still don’t like homework, though.