Spoon-fed to us at the dawn of our adolescent teen-angst years, we are put under the impression that college will undoubtedly be, “The best four years of your life.” Moving away from home, stunning independence, massive new social circles, and wild parties are the premiere experiences solicited to bright-eyed freshmen.
College is where you reinvent yourself. College is constant partying. You’ll never get these years back. Live it up while you can.
Like the American Dream, college becomes the ultimate ideal of how young adults should be living their best life. As a junior halfway through their undergraduate career, up until now I thought I wasn’t living up to my true college potential. Instead of my weekend starting on a Thursday night, my weekend started on a Saturday, catching up on homework after a 40 hour work week to pay off tuition, and me repeatedly choosing to watch The Office, either because I was too tired to go out or too drained to socialize with anyone other than the Domino’s delivery guy—shout out to you, Paul.
I often compared my college experience to that of my more outgoing peers, and for a while, I thought I was missing out on the supposed glory days that I was supposed to tell my grandchildren. Every time I wasn’t creating or participating in a stereotypical college activity, I felt guilty. Then on a Friday evening — mid-Totino's pizza roll bite — I realized I was perfectly content with my surroundings and the pace at which my life was going.
Everyone’s definition of “the best four years” is unique. Some interpret it as wild weekends in a dimly lit basement, others envision it as quiet nights of movie marathons, and others aren’t even sure what the best for years of their life will be, just that they know it’s not right now. No singular interpretation of the college experience is more right or wrong than the other, but it becomes increasingly difficult to accept this when media consistently force feeds students of how we should be experiencing or living in college.
There is no correct way to navigate or enjoy your college experience, but the conclusive wrong way is to compare your experience to others. Whether you are living the traditional collegiate life that Hollywood feeds us, or living the comfortable life of an indoor cat, at least you’re in college working towards higher education, which is the overarching goal of why we are here in the first place.