College Is Not "My Time"
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Student Life

College Is Not "My Time"

You always hear that college is going to be "the best four years of your life," but I beg to differ.

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College Is Not "My Time"
Tori Vacca

Too often, people like to dub the years you spend in college “their time” or “the best years of their life.” While this may be true for some, if not most, young people, if you’re like me, this is definitely not how you would describe your time in college; but I’ve learned that’s okay.

Personally, I’m not good with change—never have been and probably never will be. It takes me a very long time to adjust to something new once I’m set in my ways. High school was a particularly tough transition for me because I was leaving behind the comfort of my tiny grade school and moving into a building that was unfamiliar, had more than one hallway, and would separate me from some of my very best friends.

The idea of having to prove myself once again to new teachers and start from square one intimidated me more than I can say. The first two weeks of high school were kind of atrocious, not because people were unfriendly, but because I couldn’t keep sturdy on the ground that felt like it was falling out from under me. Fast forward to graduation day and I couldn’t stop sobbing. I realized very quickly that high school was probably the best years of my life, at least so far, and I had to learn to come to terms with that.

Coming into college, I noticed very quickly that I didn’t quite seem to fit like I’d hoped. I was incredibly homesick at first, once again afraid and resistant to change-- even though I was in my favorite city, studying what I love-- and I needed to regroup. Those first few weeks of being alone I took time to focus on myself and really reflect on who was in my life, who should stay there, and who needed to go.

This sounds harsh, almost as if I was simply disconnecting people that had been with me the past few years from my world entirely; on the contrary, I realized that I loved these people but needed to do so from a distance because it was no longer healthy to have them in the center of things. Ultimately, I’m a better and happier person for it, and this is where the faith I’d been raised with my entire life came into play.

In the midst of all of this, I realized that my faith was going to get me through anything. I had grown up in church my entire life and had always believed what I was being taught, but was pretty much going through the motions because I didn’t know anything else. It was when I was on my own that I realized faith is a choice. That very first night being alone in my dorm, I picked up my bible that I bought for myself the week before leaving and opened to the Psalms.

What I found in that bible that night was more profound than anything else I had experienced. I fell in love with the Word and its comfort and truth I found within. Pretty soon, I was reaching for it multiple times a day, attending masses regularly, reading my devotional in the morning over coffee, and attending bible studies. I never thought I would become a person to ever be immersed in their religion because I’ve always been uptight and running a mile a minute, but this epiphany of God being truly present in my life inspired and motivated me and I’m so grateful for picking up that bible.

Away from my experience, here’s the gist of it all: college is something different for everyone. Most people call it the best four years because you get to be selfish, wild, party whenever, live without boundaries (or only by the ones you set for yourself), and be in control for the first time.

This is all great, but if you’re anything like me, college is a weird, in-between stage that seems more necessary than desired. I wanted an education, but not necessarily the night life. This has been so hard to accept, and after believing that “I was the problem, not the schools,” I came to peace with the realization that, yes, it has to do with me, and as much as I love my newfound independence, I’m just a very different person.

Let me be clear, however, that this doesn’t mean I’m closed off to anything or already throwing away these four years before they even get a chance to take off. I love my life in the city, my friends, both old and new, and being on my own, and am more than grateful to my family for supporting my education. I’m merely acknowledging that I feel differently about being a college kid than most, which is something that can be harder for you to accept than it may be for others to accept.

College can be more than wild parties and this hookup culture that our generation seems to have created. I like to think it’s more about delving into yourself, figuring out your life, setting up the basis for your career, discovering your values, your faith, your passions, and recognizing who’s in your life for the long haul.

Its taken so much time to reinvent the idea that high school was “my time”-- changing from the concept that my high school self was the best version of myself to ever be, to understanding that that was the time when I made most of my meaningful friendships and just so happened to find myself at an age younger than most. It took even more time to accept that my experience and my stories are going to be very different from others'. The best part about that? I’m not cookie-cutter, so I’m able to write my story the way I please, and I’d like to think it’s just getting started.

If you take anything away from this, let it be that you’re the one in control of what’s considered “your time,” and that it looks different for everyone. So party hard, or stay in with a good book, but be grateful knowing that’s completely up to you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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