To say that everyone reaches an ultimate peak at some point in their life, and that everything is downhill from there, is a myth, and quite a depressing thought. So then why do we hear the phrase "college is/will be the best four years of your life" all the time? You should never give up on the greatest years of your life being in front of you, but something has to be said for all wonderful things about this period of our life in college.
1. You're away from home for probably the first time ever. And what a feeling, amirite? You now have a level of control over your life that you lacked while being back in high school living with your parents. You get to do school at your own pace, and have very few authority figures breathing down your back. You can literally walk to Taco Bell whenever you want.
2. With this, comes a lack of accountability for most. Wiz Khalifa said it best when he sang "I hate college but love all the parties, finishing kegs and crushing bottles of Bacardi..." Same, Wiz. College is a place some choose to build up their alcohol tolerance and binge-drink the weekends away. There's a danger in this, but most think it's a key part of the experience. Whatever trouble you get into in college will have a far less significant impact than if it were to happen way later.
3. Time is irrelevant. You still don't know what you want to do with your life? It's okay, you've got time (whatever that means...).
4. You're surrounded by a ton of brilliant people with a lot of ambition and passion. They are working on experiments, thesis's, films, dissertations, etc. You can also learn a lot about life from your seasoned professors, if they choose to be open with you. Being inspired by the passions of your peers is something unique to the college experience, and something that will stay with you long after you graduate.
5. In college, you get a free pass to reinvent yourself constantly. This is where you begin to truly develop your thoughts and philosophies. You begin to understand what values are important to you and where you fit into the world. You also become familiar with your limits, and how to be efficient while you're up until 4:00 a.m. writing essays.
6. College provides an atmosphere for very easy, casual oncoming friendships. These friendships will happen fast and the connections will last. This is also a period for the easiest oncoming hookups. Sleepovers with boys literally whenever!!
7. College provides a vast array of leadership opportunities that can lead to networking, something vital to all of our futures. There are also fraternities/sororities and other groups one can join that will undoubtedly provide them with unmatched college experiences and relationships.
8. Along with college comes a level of adventure. What's stopping you from taking that weekend trip to Fugitive Beach with your friends, or to Kansas City to see your favorite band play? Not to mention that studying abroad is a viable option, and will be cheapest travel you will ever have access to.
9. There are few pressing financial concerns. These are the last few years where it is very acceptable to rely and depend on your parents for financial support. Those loans you're taking out aren't a concern, at least at the moment. Everyone is living the "broke college kid life," and if you do have a part-time job, chances are it is just as much fun as it is work.
10. You're surrounded by thousands of people in the exact same situation as you. You've become part of a controlled, collaborative community, and it's yours to take by the reins.
This a unique situation that, as far as I can tell, one will ever really experience again. We're all young enough that we don't need to officially be adults, but old enough to get out, live on our own, and buy beer; for some, this is the absolute pinnacle of life.