Summers are long over. They left when we learned how to drive, and our parents made us pay for gas.

We are all engaged in committing ourselves to work in one way or another during the hottest and happiest season. And since we get to see our friends throughout summer, there is no cabin fever or dire plea to escape mom's grasp. Those luxuries are long gone.

This makes going back to school less than riveting.

If you are anything like me, you were not excited about syllabus day and the laundry list of books you needed to order and have read by the next class.

I would like to remind you all, and mostly myself, how blessed we are to be getting an education at the University of Tennessee.

According to Harvard and the Asian Development Bank, only 6.7 percent of the world has earned a college degree.

Six point seven percent.

To me, that equals an unfathomable amount of honor. I cannot say I was in the top 10 percent of my high school class, but we all can say we will be in the top 10 percent of the graduating class worldwide.

As of last March, The New York Times stated that 30.4 percent of Americans above the age 25 received a bachelor's degree.

Even in our privileged country, the opportunity to attend college proves precious.

Our privileges do not stop here though. They only begin.

The amount of perspective you will gain from each class and professor at UT will forever change your outlook, exposing you to new light.

The amount of struggle you will encounter completing your bazillion assignments will make you a stronger, more balanced and more will-powered individual.

The amount of people that will help, guide and influence you through these changes and difficult scenarios will empower you forever.

School does not just make us bigger, brighter and better; it redefines us.

It attacks our roots and makes us question everything we have ever learned. For example, we are decedents of monkeys, or should I say Homo erectus, which in turn developed into Homo sapiens. This blows my mind and my Sunday school facts out of the water.

Attack the age-old existentialist questions: Why are we here? Where are we going? And what can I do about that?

Fortunately, college helps you answer these questions too. The answers do not directly answer them, however. In fact, the answers are only there for those who actively seek them; for students who take every class as an opportunity to recreate themselves.

Students who dabble in everything they dig in class.

This type of practice was something my high school English teacher, Mrs. Roberson, called "following your bliss." She adopted this idea from Joseph Campbell, American mythologist, who said "Follow your bliss, and the universe will open doors where there were only walls."

Getting your degree is less about receiving a piece a paper and more about finding your niche in life.

Therefore, fellow students (and myself), quit griping.

You are here to earn what less than 10 percent of the world can get.

You are here to deserve what barely 30 percent of Americans receive.

You are here to craft yourself.

Get stoked.

Julie Mrozinski is a junior in English. She can be reached at jmrozins@utk.edu.