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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSD chapter.

College is the best four years of your life!

Many of us have heard this sentiment over and over again as college students. As my freshman year comes to a close, it has made me think about the pressure there is surrounding the college experience. 

Beginning with college admissions, the process is only becoming increasingly more competitive with each school year. And although the broken admissions process is a discussion for another time, high school students are left feeling as if they are not qualified enough, smart enough, or didn’t work hard enough during their high school years. So many students fall prey to these feelings, myself included. 

Because of the expectations that come with college in American culture, the pressure doesn’t end after college applications. College is heavily romanticized in movies and TV, leading many to believe that it is nothing but endless amounts of fun with no real responsibilities. Personally, I have had a lot of fun new experiences and met some amazing people this past year, but still, college is hard

Moving away from your family can prove to be more difficult than you think, and being homesick when you should be exploring your new home and having fun is a terrible feeling. The transition to college-level classes is rough and may leave you feeling like you’re not smart enough to keep up with your peers. Making new friends is scary and lonely at times. Tuition and financial aid are stressful and demand many students to work while they are a student. The list goes on and on. 

These experiences are very real and incoming freshmen should not feel bad if they are not immediately having the time of their lives. There is a lot more to the college experience than the glorified version we are sold. Throughout my first year, I have learned so much about myself and have felt truly independent for the first time. The hard parts of college are necessary to grow and change and make the fun times even more memorable. 

There is truly no other time in your life like college, and you should make the most of the four short years you have, but this does not mean they will be the best years of your life. Most of us will barely be in our early twenties as we prepare to graduate college, and the idea that we will be leaving the greatest part of our lives behind cannot be true. 

So, I think we should all relieve ourselves of the pressure that we need to have a certain amount of fun, make a certain amount of friends, or go out a certain amount of times per week to live what constitutes the “right” college experience. Each student will have a unique journey, and there’s no telling what’s to come. The past couple of years is living proof of this. Many of us never imagined we would have to go to college during a worldwide pandemic that would rob us of normal circumstances. 

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that no one’s life is amazingly fun ALL of the time – even if the media make it seem that way – so we can’t expect that from our own college experiences. 

First-year at UC San Diego majoring in communications Loves reading, writing, and spending time outdoors