How to Deal When College Life is Not What You Dreamed

Throughout high school, I felt like people were always feeding me the idea that everything would get better in college. In high school, you would still be an awkward teenager who struggled with school and had overly dramatic friendship and family problems.  I heard that in college, puberty would be finished, the awkwardness would be gone, and since everyone was more mature, the drama would decrease significantly.  The only true part of that statement is that puberty is done.

After having a tumultuous high school experience, I had sky-high expectations for college. More or less, I expected that the second I set foot on my college campus, all my life problems would fade away.  Instead, they magnified. Being on my own was much harder than I expected, as well as the school workload.  Friendships didn’t just come to me, and when I did reach out to people, many of them ended up hurting me.

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More than once, I’ve had somewhat of a “college sucks” breakdown, where I feel like either everything I heard about college was a lie or that literally everyone else had a wonderful college life while I was struggling.  I considered transferring.  I considered taking time off.  I even sometimes thought about dropping out.  However, I have many ambitions in life that I can’t accomplish without a college degree, so I decided to stick around.

The truth is, if anyone told you that life would be a walk in the park after you graduated high school, they were either insane or lying.  Although there will be some points in life that are easier than others, there is never a point in life when all problems will melt and everything becomes easy.  Not in college.  Not when you get a job or if you choose to get married.  Not when you retire.  You will always have to work for the things you want in life.

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And as for believing everyone else is having a better time than you are, don’t believe everything your high school friends are posting on social media.  They only post their best moments, so you don’t see any of the struggles they’re going through.  In fact, they may think you have it easier if they scroll through your social media profiles. Even if they are truly having a better time in college than you are, then maybe they will have difficulty in a period of life that you will float through.

To some degree, college is what you make it.  There are some things that are out of your control, like health problems or struggles at home, but there are steps you can take to have a more fulfilling life.  First of all, make sure your major is what’s right for you.  One of the best ways to guarantee misery is to spend ten hours a day studying something you hate. If you enjoy school, you have something to look forward to on days when you wake up to do class, as well as a promising professional life to work towards.

You’ve probably heard it a million times, but be sure to join some clubs that give you a good community and help involve you in activities you are passionate about.  Even if you don’t make many friends, being involved in activities you really care about will improve your quality of life. Though if you are looking to make some meaningful friendships, then initiate often and reach outside of your comfort zone from time to time.  Although other people may reach out to you, deep bonds won’t happen without some work on your part.

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College life is never perfect, and it may never even be what you want it to be.  Usually, the best thing to do is stop expecting perfection, learn to accept the parts of life you have no control over, and do everything to improve what you can.  There is no formula for a better life, but if you put enough work into it, you will see a difference.  These may not be the best days of your life, but you can make them into important years of development.   

 

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