As college students, we constantly find ourselves lethargic, overtired, frustrated, stressed, grumpy, hungover, annoyed… basically 40% water, 20% alcohol and 40% pessimism.
Being a full-time student, part-time employee and the occasional life of the party is not an easy schedule to juggle. So, of course, students are going to eventually crash and burn, becoming undeniably negative.
While us students have to keep up that angsty, just want to be 'real' adults reputation, sometimes it would be good for us to reflect upon what makes it all worth it. The experiences and opportunities that have brought us a lifetime of memories and have helped shape us into the soon to be 'real' adults we have longed to be.
Looking back, I have been able to pull out mounds of positives that college has given me. But I don't want another personal article. There are 16 million college students in the United States. I decided to reach out to fellow students. Give others the opportunity to recollect their own positive experiences.
Overwhelmingly, the friends' people have gained during their college experiences have been the cherry on top.
We graduate high school and at the end of that final summer, we tend to leave those we've been with the past 12 years of our lives. Entering into the new chapter, we're forced out of our comfort zones. It is daunting at first, but what we don't think about is EVERYONE else is in the exact same boat.
As college is a time for exploration, we throw ourselves into activities that we think we'll enjoy or find interesting and begin networking a whole new group of friends. This networking though is far from forced and these friends come so naturally. Within weeks we feel like we've known them for years. These new bonds are formed so quickly but their strength is uncanny.
Throughout these new bonds, some see the growth of those around us and in ourselves to be the most positive experience. When beginning to get to know out newfound peers, there is still layers of skin to be peeled back. As quoted by one of my favorite movies, Shrek makes this very clear.
Shrek: "Ogres are like onions."
Donkey: "They stink?"
Shrek: "Yes. No."
Donkey: "Oh, they make you cry."
Donkey: "Oh, you leave em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin' little white hairs."
Shrek: "No. Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers."
It takes time but being able to witness those layers peel back to slowly reveal who we truly are and are meant to be is beautiful. And as you watch others become comfortable with who they are, you simultaneously follow. The whole experience is something you'll cherish forever.
A popular way students put themselves out there is through Greek life. Fraternities and sororities are social organizations that allow students to venture out and meet others with similar interests as well as others with very different interests. From the lifelong friendships to the large array of organized events, the memories created for those involved are some of their bests.
Another huge aspect of college, that falls right under putting yourself out there, is being on your own. Whether in a dorm with a roommate, or an apartment, you're no longer under the roof of your parents. The experience of being on your own is a positive for students because it allows them to experience life without complete or partial rule. You're allowed to feel all the emotions of being fully responsible and seeing yourself grow from the independence. For me, being independent has allowed me to try things I probably wouldn't have at home.
You gain a type of freedom that opens up more opportunity for self-exploration.
And moving away from the more social aspect of college. There was a commonality from students when it came to positive academic experiences. A huge complaint from students is disliking a professor. One little thing can cause an entire semester of dread and reluctance. Every so often we luck out and stumble upon a professor that we connect well with. Enjoying the presence and having a mutual respect for a professor makes a class so much more enjoyable. And more often than not, this leads to better grades because the desire to do well is more prominent.
Coming into college, all you hear is that getting straight A's is not as easy as it was in high school. And that 'you will fail at least one class.' After having that shoved in our faces, getting that A and proving them wrong is huge. There's nothing like being able to give yourself that pat on the back for all that hard work you just put in.
College is a time for living and experiencing. Don't let the drawbacks take over your few short years here. Take the time and embrace all the good that comes from it.