The thing they don’t tell you about growing up and going to college is that you might love it all the time or you might not. When you’re in high school, everyone is so excited to go to college because everyone can’t wait for their freedom and they can’t wait to be learning about the things that they actually care about and they absolutely cannot wait to get away from their parents. But because that feeling is the most prominent and widely shared one, I think everyone fails to recognize that you won’t always feel that way and that you might not ever feel that way.
When I was in high school, college wasn’t a choice for me, it was pretty much mandatory. My choices were either go to college or get a minimum wage job for the rest of your life and to be honest, I didn’t want the minimum wage job so college it was. I was never really super excited about college at all despite wanting to go. Don’t get me wrong, I was pumped to never have to go to high school again and I was pumped to get the opportunity to spend time learning about the things I actually cared about, but I was never as excited as everyone else. I felt like everyone else had this sort of idea of who they wanted to be and what they wanted to do and for some reason I had just not reached that stage in my life where I knew what I wanted. I still haven’t.
I’m in college now and I like it, I guess. I like the change. I like how some things and some environments are different. I like the way that people learn to trust and love and support each other despite only seeing each other a few times a week. I like all of that but I’m not in love with college. I’m not having the time of my life like many people believed. I feel like sometimes my emotions are running on an either, or spectrum. I’m either missing my high school friends or thankful for the few people I’ve met this semester. I’m either stressing and constantly working on schoolwork or I’m relaxing while feeling guilty for taking a break. I’m either at peace with what I’ve accomplished or I’m bashing myself for not doing more. I’m either telling people I love college and it’s going so well or I’m sitting by myself in my room wondering why I feel so unsatisfied by an experience that everyone thought I’d love.
I think everyone should be excited about college. I think everyone who gets to go should be excited about the opportunity to learn things they care about and to meet people who are wildly different from the ones they’re used to. On the other hand, I also feel like when we talk about college we can’t forget to mention that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I don’t think we should use this as a scare tactic or something, I just think we should be realistic. It’s life. It’s more responsibility. It’s a big change but you have the strength to make it through.