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Is College Really the Best Four Years of Your Life?

“College is the best four years of your life.”

We’ve all heard it countless times, so it makes sense as to why our expectations are so high during college. It’s a time to figure out a career path. It’s a time for having fun on the weekends. It’s a time for building lifelong friendships. It’s a time to pull all-nighters in the library studying until our brains are packed with caffeine. It’s a time to be reckless before the “real world” begins.

I’m a junior at Arizona State University, and I wholeheartedly disagree that college will the best four years of your life. Sure, you make some friends, go to class on your beautiful campus, and probably spend your weekends doing things you can’t remember. However, freshman orientation never included foresight to how much I was actually going to struggle with during these four years.

I never thought that diagnosis, medication and therapy for depression and anxiety would all be included at the halfway point of the “best four years of my life.” I never thought that a girl I spent my entire childhood with would be diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia and have to fight for her life every single day. I never thought my dad would find more interest in the affection given to him by a young coworker than from the reality of his wife and two kids. I never thought the house I live in would become walls that won’t ever feel like the home it once was.

College isn’t always what it’s made out to be.

It’s a time for self-discovery. It’s a time to understand that these four years really aren’t the peak of your life. It’s not only a stepping-stone in learning career fundamentals, but it’s also about learning how to develop emotional independence and build the strength necessary for future challenges.  

We don’t ask for these things to happen. They just happen. Life unfolds in a specific direction whether we like it or not, and we have to find the strength to keep moving forward.

College is tough, but so are you. 

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