Growing up, I always heard the line,“College is where you figure out who you want to be.” Whether it came from movies or family, this was a constant reminder that always made me excited to experience this life. While I agree with this statement, I wish there were some other things I had been told as well. Starting with the fact that it is going to be completely different from your expectations. This can be a good thing or even the other way round but you are going to be okay. College is a different life from what you have experienced so far and it can make you feel vulnerable, overwhelmed sometimes, and might even feel harder to transition but that is completely okay. Everyone is figuring it out and nobody is half as sorted as they appear to be. That being said, even if some individuals are, you do not have to measure up how you are doing as opposed to them. You have your own set of challenges and you are doing just fine. Some days are just about pushing through and the idea of making it through is just as big a celebration as it can get.
College comes with a set of generalized misconceptions and we think we are doing something wrong when our lives do not align with those. Here’s an insider fact: it is not nearly half as romanticized as movies portray it to be and I wish all my juniors know that it is okay to have certain expectations. Our conditioning can get us to have set fantasies and it is okay to be let down too because that is when you figure it out at your own sweet pace and time. Even within a single university, students may have the same standard go-to places, ways of doing things catered around that lifestyle but even then, every student is leading a very different life. One day you will be swamped with assignments and society work, the next day you will find more time to be with your friends. What you really need is to normalize the idea of doing things your way. Even on days when you have time, you might wish to just take a nap and watch movies by yourself. There are no standards and you can do what makes you feel more like yourself. College life is hard as it is and you need to do what makes you feel recharged as an individual and I wish that people highlighted the concept of individuality within the realm of college life so we students would not feel the pressure of doing things we are not comfortable with. I always felt the need to be everywhere or else I was missing out but at the end of the day, nobody really cares if I am there or not. I have to take care of myself to be able to make the absolute most of everything in a way it feels right to me.
You will always feel like you are not doing enough as people around you might be in more clubs, get more internships and sometimes the person next to you will blow your mind but your accomplishments are enough. There is a life after college, remember that. Setbacks in college are normal and others will not openly share theirs but that does not make you a failure. This is something I constantly remind myself and the people around me about.
A humble request, dear juniors, try and get your assignments done before the deadline. Do not pile on everything until the last minute. I am still working on this! I think being organized is really important but so is giving yourself the time and space to go about it. At the end of the day, college can be where you figure out who you want to be that is if you give leverage to the concept of individual lived experiences. It is okay if you are not sure of things even at the end of it. Be easy on yourself and enjoy the ride. We are all lost in our own ways and trying our best to make things right.