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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.


Before you even know what college you are going to, you get bombarded with this idea of the “college experience”. Integrated into our minds through movies, social media, and our communities, it is an exciting adventure that we all want to take part of. However, something that I have recently discovered is that the “college experience” has changed from an exciting independent adventure to a competition. Who can get the most drunk, hook up with the most people, do the most crazy acts in order to live out this fantasy of what we all think we should be doing. Now this may not be everyone’s interpretation of it, but for me, in my college experience, that is what I felt as though I needed to do to prove that I was having a good time.

Which makes no sense. You are the determining factor of how much fun you are having. Anyway, this “college experience” morphed from going out to have a good time to: if I did not go out I was missing out or not living the life I was supposed to. I forced myself to do things when I was tired or sick or honestly just did not feel like it. Which made the whole experience worse than it would have been if I had just stayed in. The art of staying in was one which I never used to appreciate, but has found a special place in my heart. 

One of the biggest transitions I have taken so far as a college student has been finding independence with what I constitute as a good time or just fulfilling my own needs and wants without any outside influence. Not doing things because I felt as though I “should” or even because others wanted me to. So now when I go out I have a much more enjoyable experience because it was an active choice and I find myself places where I want to be. If the mood strikes me and I want to stay in, I do not feel guilty or like I am robbing myself of a fictional lifestyle everyone is desperate to have. 

The “college experience” is one that I love! The definition of it has just been personally altered. Independence, close friendships, strong mindedness, and even crazy nights are all a part of it, but it is on my own terms. No one cares what you did last weekend but yourself, so why not do what you want? This peace of mind has made my life here feel like home. My appreciation for these four years has only been strengthened. Again, this is just my own personal revelation, but if you are struggling with finding identity with what you want in college, take a step back from all the expectations and let yourself decide. 

Hey!! I am Olivia Slatton. I am a sophomore at NC State majoring in Communication with a Public Relations concentration
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