Slowing Down in College: It's About the Journey, Not the Destination

We live in a fast-paced world, where if you aren’t telling yourself, “go, go, go!” people think there’s something wrong. Society is more competitive than ever before, prompting us to be busier, more stressed, and more worried than ever before. Especially as college students, we often see our goals as destinations, and forget to look around at how we arrive there. Those who enter college with one goal, to obtain a degree and nothing else, are missing out on a whole chapter of their life. But our schooling has trained us to be this way. We are always worried about those standardized tests that will determine our future, and whether or not we will have a job offer when we graduate with our degree. Stopping to appreciate what is around us not only helps us slow down, but also allows us to enjoy the journey instead of being solely, narrowly focused on the end result. Through personal experiences, I have discovered that my end results are highly influenced by what I’ve taken advantage of during my journey.

Life is beautiful, although sometimes it may seem the opposite. We have been taught how important it is to be competitive and “get ahead of the game” that we forget how to be ourselves. Looking from a health standpoint, stressing oneself out this much can start shaving years off of our life later on down the road. In our lives, we experience positive stress and negative stress. Positive stress keeps us motivated and propels us forward, whereas negative stress bogs us down and can make us feel hopeless. How do we make sure that the relationship between the two is balanced and not incredibly skewed? By slowing down.

If you are too busy rushing through life, you’ll miss out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that may present themselves to you. I’m the first person to admit that I’m incredibly busy. However, I make sure to slow down to make sure I’m living my life the way I want, enjoying the journey and the process. As college students, we can be pressured into choosing a major right off the bat, and being able to complete college in the traditional four years. This was not my experience at all. I declared my first major as a junior, my second as a senior, and my third during my fifth and final year. I am taking five years to graduate, and I am grateful for this. I wanted to enjoy my college journey, get involved, take those really interesting classes that have nothing to do with what I’m studying, meet new people, and look back on this chapter of my life with fond memories. I’ve gone through an incredible amount of growth as an individual throughout my past four years in college, and I know that I wouldn’t have progressed as much as I did had I not slowed myself down and enjoyed what I was doing. Don’t leave this time of your life with regrets because you were too caught up in how to get in and out as quickly as possible. It’s important to slow down and experience, appreciate, and enjoy the beauty that is life.

We each have our own tools as to what works best for us. Comparing our lives to those of others isn’t healthy or productive. As individuals, we know what works best for us, which may not be the same for our peers. There is nothing wrong with this! We don’t learn the same, interpret information the same, express ourselves the same, understand things the same, etc. There is not one “right” way. When haters come to say you’re not moving fast enough or try to make you feel guilty for your choices, just know that as long as you’re doing what you want to be doing with your life, that’s all that matters.

Moral of the story: enjoy life by slowing yourself down. You’ll thank yourself later when you look back and realize what a comprehensive experience you had. Slowing down allows you to take advantage of opportunities that you won’t see if you’re wearing blinders going down a single road. Take the time to explore other roads and other avenues of life. Don’t take it from me; take it from Robert Frost who taught us to take the road less traveled, because in the end it can make all the difference.