The best and worst four years
Stop stressing out over the idea that your college years should be the best of your life. The idea that one’s time in college is a pinnacle of life is something everyone has heard at one point or another. It’s one of those concepts that floats around the public consciousness and is occasionally delivered as sage advice to unsuspecting youths. It’s instilled in us at an early age and ultimately ends up causing a lot of undue anguish once we actually get to those “best” years of our lives.
Sometimes college sucks. Stressful life pressures, changes, financial turmoil and crippling uncertainty about the future can turn college from a grand opportunity to a dark and miserable chapter in a person’s life. “Am I wasting the best part of my life?” people ask themselves. “If nothing is better than this, what do I have to look forward to?”
The answers, respectively, are “no” and “quite a lot, actually.”
Sure, college can be an amazing experience for some, and indeed, it has the potential to be one of the high points of life, but this lofty ideal can’t pan out for everybody, and it doesn’t have to. College may occupy a unique space in our culture, but if life never lets up enough to let you enjoy it, that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. If you spend your time here gasping for air as everyone around you seems to be living life to its fullest, know that nothing is being wasted, only delayed.
If the good times aren’t here yet, you can be absolutely sure that they will arrive at one point or another, once you’ve left this uncertain place and found solid footing. Worrying about why you aren’t happy and why you aren’t taking full advantage of the moment is a meaningless error which accomplishes nothing. Accept that the opportunity of college was never as bright as you’d been told, and look ahead to everything beyond it.
While you’re in college, you’re building something and working towards something, even if it doesn’t feel like it all the time. It’s a career, sure, but it’s also more than that. You’re establishing control over your life—the kind of control which will allow you to shape yourself a life more welcoming to you than the whirlwind of college. The years you spend here are only a beginning. They don’t need to be a peak of your existence and they don’t need to be enjoyable. There’s more to come; remember that.