When I first began the college process, my family and friends were all very proud of me.
But I noticed that I started getting a lot of the same messages, repeated over and over to me by every over-concerned, only half-joking family member.
“Don’t go to college and become a party girl!”
“Don’t go to college and start drinking!”
“Don’t go to college and party all the time!”
Their intentions were pure, but after a while, it began to wear on me.
I found a text conversation between me and my mom recently, back from when all this was going on. In it, I talked to her about how these comments were somewhat irritating.
Didn’t they know me well enough that I wouldn’t waste my hard-earned education on getting wasted?
Did they not remember that they’re talking to a girl who’d rather watch youtube videos in her pj’s with her best friend than go out on a Friday night?
Don’t they realize that I’m mature?
To me, my irritation stemmed from what I saw as a lack of trust in my own sense of responsibility, something that I greatly pride myself on and have worked hard to develop.
My mom, however, being the voice of reason, put my irritation aside. She reminded me that it was like a ritual to warn new college students of the dangers of partying.
A rite of passage, even.
That got me thinking, after finding those text conversations again, why it is that our culture does that. I know myself, I know my boundaries, and I know what kind of temptations I am more likely to give into — I know that I am not a partier.
So why is it that people nowadays feel compelled to pretend like I am, just because I’m leaving the nest?
Do we not trust our college students?
All of us, especially those of us currently in college, have heard the stories of kids getting wasted and terrible things happening to them. That doesn’t mean college kids will stop drinking. The stories may become a lingering fear in the back of our minds, but the social aspect of it does not change.
College students aren’t going to stop drinking, and that’s just a fact of life. Whether or not they’re responsible for it, though, is another matter.
Parents have every right to be worried about their children when they go off to college.
College is scary and difficult, and at times may even seem impossible.
But parents should also feel comfort in the knowledge that they’ve raised their child to be a responsible adult, and come to terms with the fact that their kid is now, indeed, an adult. There shouldn’t have to be that second-guessing, that worry gnawing at them that their child will be one of the stories colleges love to scare students into submission with.
I know my family means well, and I appreciate their concern for my wellbeing now, but I’d also like to tell families everywhere that a little trust means so much more than you’d think it does.
I’m not a partier, not one prone to being out on a Friday night, nor am I an alcoholic in any sense of the word. I’m just a college student, and there’s no room for us to grow into the best version of ourselves if someone is always stepping in front of the sunlight.
The concern is welcome, and I’ll admit sometimes justified, but still. A little trust might be justified too, don’t you think?