College Offers a Gazillion Social Interactions

This may be the single best thing college does in preparing you for the real world: it aggregates (in a constrained physical environment) thousands of people who are similar to you in age but not necessarily in interests or background, giving you tons of practice interacting with all sorts of people in all sorts of settings.

The social life part of the college experience is discussed mainly in the context of having fun. But the more time I spend in college the more I realize that the social interactions — the sheer practice that comes from the 24/7 pressure-cooker of living, sleeping, working, drinking, thinking with tons of other people — it’s these interactions which are probably more valuable than the academics. Since most professions demand people skills more than anything else, the socialization process in college does a nice job at letting you discover and develop your people skills in a range of diverse environments.

And the people who you practice socializing with usually go on to be friends, or at least weak ties, many years after college, providing the base for a professional network.

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