Wednesday, May 31, 2017

College Expectations

College isn't the best four years of your life.


I said it.

I spent the summer before I started college, three years ago, forming all these grand expectations of what college would be like, the experiences I would have, the friends and memories I would make. Oh how silly I was that summer. I would love to go back and give myself a dose of reality and not make so many expectations, because college hasn't turned out to be what I expected. 

Of course there have been great times, amazing even. But all of college is not like that. I've felt sad, lonely, anxious, and friendless a lot my past three years - and these are the best years of my life? That's depressing.

High school wasn't great for me (socially, I had an amazing high school education), and any time I was upset about it, family and friends would tell me "oh don't worry, college is going to be better." I looked to the experiences my older siblings were having in college - meeting their best friends, having the times of their life, taking on these huge roles within their university - and got excited for how awesome college was going to be. Imagine my disappointment when college didn't turn out to be like that for me. And that's just what I've been - disappointed. When sorority recruitment wasn't picture perfect - disappointed. When I didn't become best friends with the girls on my hall - disappointed. When the friends I did make didn't turn out to be the people I thought they were - disappointed. When I didn't get some big leadership opportunities I desperately wanted - disappointed.

Now I don't say this to be a Debbie Downer. I say all of this so that those of you who are starting college this fall won't do what I did. Don't fall in the trap of creating expectations for the next four years, because college won't live up to those grand imaginings of Pinterest-perfect dorms, being best friends with your roommate, acing every class you take, meeting your bridesmaids, having the time of your life. Think of how much pressure those expectations are putting on the next four years, on you. The reality of college can't possibly live up to that.

A professor showed a great Ted Talk this semester that explains expectations and why they lead to so much unhappiness and I think no matter what stage of life you're in, you should watch it, because we all constantly form expectations of everything - such is the burden of the tech age. 

Pretty powerful stuff, huh? So now you get it. When you have all of these expectations, your reality can't possibly live up to it. It's been said a million times, but social media is just the highlight reel not the outtakes. And most of life, of college, is the stuff that doesn't end up perfectly cropped and edited in a square on your Instagram.

So I beg of you, go into college - whether it be your first year or your last semester - your new job, your next vacation without expectations. Take it from someone who has been there, you'll only end up disappointed. But maybe, without all those expectations, you'll be spontaneous and surprised at the joy that comes out of it. Remember, college is just four years of higher education, not the best four years of your life.

No comments :

Post a Comment