Is There Too Much Pressure to Make College the Best Four Years of Our Lives?

When we were in high school we were told that those would be the best four years of our lives. Flash forward to college, and yet again we are faced with “the best four years of our lives.” But is it really? If college is the best four years of my life, that really sucks.

While I absolutely love college, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, or doing anything else at this point in my life, I think this idea of blocking off years and claiming that they will be the best is ridiculous. Every action I take, every decision I make, every laugh, every night, has an expectation to be the best, and that nothing will top it the rest of my life. This comes with a lot of pressure.

We are expected to be having the time of our lives, educating ourselves, while simultaneously partying, drinking, getting minimal hours of sleep, trying to perfect a resume, making new friends, and spending lots and lots of money on things that may not be the best purchases. We watch television and movies that show only the best parts of college, and subconsciously these images stick with us whether we like it or not. We watch things like Accepted, House Bunny, Sydney White, and Gossip Girl, and we see “college life” and “the best four years”, but what we don’t see is actually going to class, spending hours studying and doing homework, mental breakdowns, wearing sweatpants most days, anxiety, or depression. We don’t see the real things, the ugly truths, the less than ideal part of these four years.

When we only see positive, unrealistic images of college life, and when we repeatedly here that these years will be our best, it clouds our vision and makes us feel as if we are failing if we aren’t having the time of our life. If these are the best years of our lives, does that mean the rest of our lives are going to really just suck? And the thing is, that’s not true. There are so many things to look forward to in each category of life.

In our 20’s we might be getting our first jobs, our first places we can call our home (without having to live with five other people).

In our 30’s we might be getting married, getting promotions, or having children.

In our 40’s we might be finally financially stable.

You get the point.

Each year of our lives have the potential to be the best, and if we just sit around and say “oh well, college was the best four years, and that’s that”, then that will be true, and we will never reach our full potential outside of college. We need to start living in the moment, and stop thinking and being told that nothing gets better than this, because everyone’s experience and life is different and unique. Maybe it will be the best four years, maybe it won’t, but that’s up for you to decide and no one else.