What is the College Experience?

It seems like not long ago we were all sending off our college applications, imagining what our future college-selves would be like, and where we would end up. Everyone is excited to see where their new school will take them in life, and we often see through rose-colored glasses. If you’re anything like me, though, you weren’t prepared for the lows of college. Adjusting to the in-between stages of your teenage years and adulthood can be a task harder for more than others. I wish I had known that it’s okay to not have it together all the time and lose the feeling that you’re not living your best college life. Feeling like you’re not doing your college years justice is a feeling that a lot of people can relate to, but no one actually talks about. 

 

As amazing as college can be, the transition into independent life can be a lot harder than we expect. Living with roommates, managing your class workloads, trying to be independent- they’re all parts of life, but sometimes it doesn’t go exactly the way we expect. This can, in turn, lead you to feel like your college experience isn’t living up to your expectations. But the truth is that in college, you are living in such close quarters with other people that it’s hard to feel stress-free all the time. Having a roommate, you don’t get along with jeopardizes the entire environment that you’re supposed to call home. Getting slammed with school work during syllabus week when no one else does can make you feel isolated. Trying to maintain your normal eating and workout routine in the school gym full of Brad’s and Chad’s is often intimidating. Overcoming these road bumps is part of the experience, and they can help you grow and become more confident in yourself. But it’s not easy, and if you feel that way, it’s important to remember that you're not alone! If you look around, it seems like everyone around you has it fully together and is having the time of their life, but the majority of us (if not all) do not. This is your friendly reminder that it’s okay if college hasn’t lived up to your expectations. It’s okay if you don’t want to go out every weekend, and it’s okay if you haven’t found your people yet. You won’t have to stay in your college town forever, you will meet new people, and life will fall into place. It can be extremely isolating to go on social media and see everyone doing so much more than you but remember that this is just a perception. As long as you keep showing up, bringing your best self forward, you can rest assured that you are doing everything you are supposed to be doing. There is not a right or wrong way to do college. College is about learning who you are as an individual, exploring life, and finding out what matters to you. Life doesn’t really start until you graduate, and that is when everything will come full circle.  So remember that your path is unique to you, and one day you will be able to look back and see how your experiences now brought you to where you will be then.