College is the Best and Quickest Four Years of Your Life

“College will be the best and quickest four years of your life.”

The cliché saying that everyone knows, loves....and hates.

Yes, I’ve heard it many times at family Christmas’s, birthday get-togethers, and the occasional drop-by visit that you were not informed about nor asked if it was okay. However, I never really knew what the saying meant, when I would feel it coming true, or if I would ever notice it. I wanted to feel it deeper than just a saying relatives use as a connection to me as they play the highlight reel in their heads.

Like a sparkler on the Fourth of July, some things just run out of flame. The reason I say this is because, at the end of my sophomore year, I realized the major I so longed for and prided myself on turned out to mean close to nothing to me. I felt like I was living a lie, realized it, but just kept repeating the lie over and over again. Until finally, I had a realization fall term of my junior year. This realization was the “quickest four years” part of the saying.

Throughout fall term, I realized I was forcing myself to stick to the status quo and not stray from the norm, but I knew this was not right, and I knew I could conform no longer. I decided to change my major, and even though it is not completely different than the path I was originally on, it is a more modified path to what I actually enjoy and want to succeed in.

Now that the background is set, here is the real moral of this story: values.

Before coming to college, the things I valued were not things I thought long and hard about. They were all just things that I’ve seen, grown up knowing, and let them become like second nature. But asking myself now, I could list the top five categories I value in all of my endeavors and why. This is because of what college has taught me. Yes, classes I have taken have partially contributed to this new-found love for figuring out what I value (shout out to the liberal arts), but a majority of this comes from the relationships, decisions, responsibilities, connections, clubs, sports, etc. that college brings (or sometimes forces upon) you.

I never understood this until I had my hit to the head, "coulda had a V-8" moment when I decided to change my major. College shows you a lot of options for who you could be and then allows you to shape yourself into who you want to be. This want does not solely come from what you are exposed to and grew up with. It comes from what you are exposed to and what you decide to jump into or stay clear of. Tough decisions need to be made, relationships are created or questioned, loads of responsibilities just seem to come and keep coming and never stop, connections between alumni and professors are a constant, and clubs and sports contribute to the way you outlet the emotions or energy that is bottled up due to all the other crazy things college throws at you. 

Going back to the saying, it states that college is the “best and quickest four years” of life....Before you knock it, question what you have learned from college. No, I don’t mean the advancement in your keg stand seconds or what filters equate to the most likes on your Instagram photos. And I’m not referring to figuring out the exact amount of classes you can miss without it affecting your participation grade, or even the shots you were able to acquire on a random Friday at 2nd Ave. I’m talking about the people you have met that leave a lasting imprint on you. I mean the decisions that sometimes seem like a lose/lose but you have to make them anyways because you are maturing. Or the responsibilities that seemed like nothing while you were fulfilling them, but when you took a step back, you glanced at the clock and it was 2am in the Brew and you hadn't been home since 7am that morning. Think about the connections you have made with the people/alumni in your sorority, fraternity, sport, class or the professors you have come to love. And don't forget the sports or clubs that have shaped you into the person you are today—the things you might have been doing your entire life but just now seem to come full circle because the experience is almost over.

“College is the best and quickest four years of your life.”....I don’t think the saying is literally true considering we have the rest of our lives to live. But figuratively, college shapes you into who you want to become and teaches you more than you thought your brain and soul could handle. How could you not say that the four years of you becoming the person you never thought you wanted to be but have come to love isn’t the best and quickest time of your life?