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College: Making Dreams Happen or Pushing Them Away?

What did you want to grow up to be when you were little?  Personally, I wanted to be a veterinarian, a movie star, and a mommy.  Basically I wanted to be a renaissance woman.  Children have such great aspirations for themselves, to follow their dreams and be whatever they want to be. Of course it would be very difficult for me to be a vet, a movie star, and a mommy at the same time, but who says I can’t do it?  A girl can dream right?  How come this passion and determination that children have disintegrates, as we get older?  This is a question I have recently stumbled upon living life as a college student.

Society has shaped students to create a situation for themselves that puts them ahead of the game.  For years, I felt that the most important part of school was to take classes that made me “look good”.  These classes would have to be AP classes or college courses, classes that made me “smart”.  It didn’t matter how much I hated the class; if it looked good for college, it was worth it.  Unfortunately, this “taking certain classes because it puts me ahead of the game” mindset carries on from high school to college.  As a sophomore here at Hamilton, I witness students getting caught up in the game of society.  Students are constantly giving in to the mentality that the purpose of college is to get a job.  While I do believe that college helps one to have a secure future, I also believe that the college experience is much more important for reasons other than being able to have a cushy lifestyle. 

I often hear adults say how they would love to be back in college, and how it was the best four years of their lives.  These adults don’t want to go back to college because they enjoyed sitting through that class required for their major, they want to go back because of the freedom they had. College is a time of growth, maturation, and exploration.  Now is the time to do what you want and enjoy yourself.  Sometimes this is hard to do because of the reputation people give to non-academic classes.  For example, I am currently in elementary ballet.  When I tell other people that I am in this class, they hesitate to say anything, thinking this class is “an easy way out.”  What these people don’t understand is that I did not take ballet to have less work; I took ballet because the opportunity is here and now.  After college, I plan on working, and I doubt I will have much free time to do recreational activities.  So why wait?  I am not going to deprive myself of a passion just because the social norm is to play the game and “get ahead”.  College is meant to be enjoyable.  Students should not be afraid to take whatever classes they want.  Do NOT shy away from any opportunities, because the time is now.  So even if you’re trying to get into medical school, take that painting class or dance class you’ve always wanted to take because once you’re medical school you can say goodbye to free time and hello to the real world.

So in conclusion, do what you love.  Forget about what you “have to do” or “should do” and remember that college is the last hoorah.  You have your whole life after college to be a grown up.  Be that kid with great aspirations.  As a wise man once said, “You only live once, that’s the motto, baby YOLO.”


Talia Levine is a sophomore at Hamilton College. She is from Long Island, New York but recently moved to Brooklyn. Talia is a hispanic studies major and anticipates going abroad to Madrid next spring.
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