Why It’s Okay If You’re Not Absolutely In Love With College Yet

As a freshman at a college away from home, seeing people from my hometown when I visit means being asked, “How’s college!?” more times than I can count on two hands. This question is unavoidable but it doesn’t bother me. What haunts me is my immediate response to the question. When asked, I don’t gush with excitement and reply with a huge smile, “College is amazing!” But why?

When your friend group splits after high school, you learn to rely on social media for updates on their lives. How are they doing? Are they enjoying college? Are they making new friends? Why am I not doing as well as them? Your brain resorts to comparison. I could not help but wonder why I did not feel overwhelmingly enthusiastic about my college journey just like every friend whose smiley photos flooded my feed. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong.

Like most other college freshmen, college presented me with my first legitimate step away from everything I knew. I left my home, family, girlfriend and close-knit group of friends to enter the scary unknown of college. Without a doubt, I was nervous about this transition, but I also had faith in myself. Confident that I would make a great group of friends, be social and try new things, I drove three hours away from my comfort zone to a city I knew little to nothing about.

 

I quickly realized that the confidence I thought I felt about my college life may have been misconceived pressure. Pressure from social media to have the time of my life like everybody I went to high school with and my own expectations forced me to question my feelings. My first few weeks at college left me in a very confusing state of mind. College was not awful but it was not breathtakingly awesome as well. Why was I not comfortable with admitting that to people when they asked?

Don’t get me wrong, my current goals are to love my college experience, make lifelong friends, and be involved in school festivities. I have days where I completely excel in those areas and others where I fail. I’m working on it. What I did not realize before, is that those good feelings would not happen to me after my first night in the dorms. They not only take effort, but time to present themselves. The pressure to be in love with every aspect of my new life diminished my feelings of mediocrity about school, homesickness, and sadness.

 

 

The reality is, there will be days when the answer to the question, “How’s college!?” brings you excitement. You will have stories to tell and you will genuinely respond that college is going well for you. Other days, you won’t feel so high, but you will feel inclined to lie and say that everything is great. You don’t have to. An honest response to the question will provide you with a sense of validity in your feelings, and may even open doors to advice.

The pressure to express our happiness and hide the rest of our (extremely regular and rational) feelings about the difficult change that is college can be emotionally tolling. Trust me, as someone who needed to hear this a long time ago, it’s okay not to be head over heels in love with your new life every day. The best thing you can do if you’re experiencing that middle ground between loving college life and hating it, is to recognize that feeling and know that it’s valid. The steps to enjoying college life are small and can take time. There’s power in knowing and admitting that to yourself, and then others.