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Growing Pains: the Reality of Junior Year in College

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

Now that I am almost five weeks into my first semester of junior year, I’ve noticed that it is vastly different from my freshman and sophomore years. When I stepped into my Leadership 1000 class on the first week of school, I soon realized that I was in a class made up of almost all freshmen. Of course, our age gaps aren’t that far apart, but once I started talking to a few of my 18-year-old classmates, it dawned on me that we are in completely different stages of life.

Right when I returned to Boulder after spending summer break in San Diego, I turned 21. Everyone knows that once you turn 21 in college, you start going to bars instead of fraternities, so that fact alone already made me feel more isolated from my underclassmen peers. It probably sounds dumb, but there’s a point in everyone’s life where they just can’t spend another Friday night in a dark basement with EDM blaring in the background. 

Underclassmen also have more stamina in terms of going out on the weekend than I do as a junior. Many of them will go on two, three, or four-day benders, whereas I have to muster up the courage to leave my bed after 10 p.m. I know that when I was an underclassman, I definitely had more time to enjoy my social life than I do today. Where did all my energy go? Am I going to be this tired for the rest of my life?

Other than the social aspect of college, I made the observation that I’m spending more time worrying about my future career than ever before. At least once a week, I hear, “What do you want to do after college?” or “What internships have you been applying to?”. Not only do I have to be concerned about my grades, but I also have to worry about getting accepted for an internship for the summer. And at this point, I’d accept any offer. When I was an underclassman, all I had to concern myself with was my homework.

Speaking of future career goals, the other biggest challenge I’m currently facing is my resume. I swear I have to change it every week. Either the font is too small, I don’t have enough experience, or I have too much experience. These last two years of college are all about looking competitive to employers, and it’s EXHAUSTING.

My free time is also nearly non-existent. Upper-division classes at CU Boulder are seriously no joke. Homework is taking ten times longer than it has in the past two years. Once I’m done with one project, there’s another one due the next week. On top of having a job, school is truly taking over my life. 

Even though junior year has been tiring, at least I’m still able to enjoy the aspects of college that I know and love. I haven’t quite made it to adulthood, but it’s definitely approaching rapidly. 

Maya Paustenbaugh is a writer for the Her Campus University of Colorado-Boulder chapter. Outside of Her Campus, Maya works at the CU Boulder Bookstore on campus and enjoys reading in her free time. She was one of the editors of her high school yearbook for two years and is currently a multimedia journalist intern for Bucket List Community Cafe. Maya is a junior studying Journalism with a minor in Political Science and Leadership. In her free time, Maya enjoys going to the gym, re-watching Harry Potter, and visiting her family in Fort Collins, CO. She also loves any water related activity and baking (especially cakes). Maya learned how to ski when she lived in Germany and can be found skiing around Colorado in the winter!