I Don't Know What I Want From College

I Don't Know What I Want From College

"We will never be here again."
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One year. Twelve months. 365 days.

It’s been more-or-less a calendar year since I started to ritualistically log onto the Common App website every day after school, dreadfully responding to some variation of the question, “What do you expect to gain from making this monumental decision about your future?”

But one year/twelve months/365 days ago, the answer was simple. I wanted to tell stories, and I wanted to tell them so exceptionally that, in the future, people would be able to turn to my art when they needed it.

Now, a calendar year later, that hasn’t changed. I still stand by that dream. I walk around campus and attend my classes and connect with people, and I am exhilarated and awakened and just the right amount of terrified by the realization that I am exactly where I need to be in terms of my career and the rest of my life. Yes. I know what I want.

It’s just that there’s another dream I forgot to consider in the process. One that strays from cover letters and auditions and interviews. One that matters on such a strange and deeper level.

As someone who grew up on a steady diet of books and TV shows, stories not only fed me but helped me understand the world. Fiction was my guide to reality. It navigated me. And now, I’m terrified to say that I feel lost because I don’t know what I want personally.

I never forged a personal dream that extended beyond my four years in my small-town high school.

I mean, how could I? I grew up connecting to The OC’s core four walking down the pier, to the senior class of West Beverly crying out, “Donna Martin graduates!” to the ephemeral yet infinite moments where the teenagers in their fictional worlds were rightfully invincible. And everything that followed was never as fulfilling or touching or exciting as Nathan Scott making that winning shot or Ryan Atwood racing up the stairs to find Marissa Cooper on New Year’s Eve.

It doesn’t help that the college years consistently make up the worst seasons of TV shows. Gossip Girl without Constance and St. Jude’s felt directionless and empty. Brenda freaking left, and One Tree Hill and Pretty Little Liars skipped over the calamity altogether.

Even Teen Wolf, in its last weeks, fought to keep the characters in a high school setting because there’s something shimmering and ineffably beautiful about the time in your life where every test and fight and kiss feels like the most important thing in the world.

Nothing feels quite as special as the innocence and intensity of a first love, the limitlessness of a long-time friendship, the now that resembles forever.

So maybe it’s not that I don’t know what I want personally as much as it is I don’t know what I want personally…from college. Because I know what I want now.

I want to do it all over again. I want to squeeze through the hallways and know the faces I pass and the histories hidden behind them. I want to spend too much time in the morning making sure every curl falls into the right place because how you present yourself to the world matters—because everything matters.

I want to feel my ribs against the railing of the stadium, feel the bleachers rattle under my feet, and let the electric atmosphere buzz against my skin.

But the time for those experiences is over. And I don’t know what to do with myself.

No one ever wants to be the person who is stuck in the past. The person who, god forbid, “peaked in high school.” Especially if you didn’t. Especially if you were too overwhelmed by AP classes and SATs and too stressed and too sad and too everything to enjoy those incredible moments that were sentimentalized—maybe almost promised to you—in fiction.

No one wants to hold onto what is no longer there. But I don’t know how to move on, because a part of me doesn’t want to.

This emotional aimlessness doesn’t permeate my everyday life. But as an artist and a human being, it’s impossible not to notice its presence. It’s like an open wound, like a relationship that ended without an explanation, a friendship that faded into scattered conversations then a couple hellos then nothing. And, like all open wounds, I know that in another year/twelve months/365 days or so, it’ll heal, and I’ll move on, and all that will remain will be a scar to occasionally remind me of what was. It’s just a matter of time.

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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Our Struggle: Tackling Millennial Debt

In a generation where friendships and relationships don't last, debt is the only constant factor.

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Lexington, Kentucky

As I sit on Jane's bed, I begin to start typing a topic that has been long over due, millennial debt.

Debt is not just a financial entity, but is intertwined in every aspect of our lives. It shapes the way we grow up, our political views, and even our friends.


I think my finances could be better, and it stresses me out sometimes, but why am I in debt to begin with?

As I started to ask this question for my own beneficial purposes, I realized that people around me are worse off.

During spring quarter I had (what felt like) my first big girl finance talk. An Alpha Phi alumna came and gave a quick talk about the book "Rich Bitch", and I loved it. It was the first time I was exposed to the theory of 'financial stability' and I wanted it. I kind of thought of college as this lawless place, where I can do whatever and figure it out later, but it's not. Talking about finances is uncomfortable and weird, but it has to be done. Just because you have a job doesn't mean you can do what you want, especially when you're spending and are already in debt. I feel like it's harder going to school in a big city because everything is so expensive. There's so much to do and explore, and it all cost money.

I looked around me and realized for the first time that people take out crazy loans to go to school.

I think our culture is very fucked up.

"But it's all cool and all because we're all doing it". What kind of mentality is that? We don't have to go to school, let alone a private expensive university. Where is this pressure that 'going to college solves everything' ? Going to college does not guarantee you the best years of your life. You might not find your 'sisters' or 'brothers'. I am the living proof that college kinda f*cking sucks, people are shitty and justify their behaviors on alcohol.

So why are we spending so much money to be here?

The loans that we are taking out are not for education, but for the lifestyle that college offers. The debt you will have for the rest of your life, is for four years of 'college'. You're going to take out loans just so that you have a desk job, go out to happy hours with your buddies, and save for European vacations once in a while; while slaved to your loans for pretty much the rest of your life. When did this become the norm? There's nothing wrong with this lifestyle, because it provides a sense of security, but it cannot be the path we take because we are scared to explore our other options.


Millennials are in debt, partly due to our parents being a mess. How many of our parents attended college, let alone in this era? College is not for everyone, and it's okay to experience it and leave, just as much as it is okay to never experience it. Why are we taking out loans and settling to a life full of debt? Because it's safe. Debt is the only thing that lasts. In our generation friendships and relationships come and go, but debt stays.

What is wrong with us?

I'll tell you what (I think is) wrong with us. We grew up when the internet was a 'new' invention. How many of us can talk to our parents, and seek advice? We are exposed to the world, good and often bad, that is enough to want us to take comfort in a distorted version of reality. We are a generation that has it's own problems, it's own new wave of statistics. We are the generation that people will write books about a decade from now. We are the generation that has fun for Instagram likes. We are the generation of $6 dollar lattes. We are the generation that hides on their phone when confronted with awkwardness. We are the generation that has crew love. Our best accomplishment is making it on Old Row. We are the generation that has less racial tension. We are the generation of Rupi Kaur poetry. It's not all bad, but the bad parts are bad.

A decade from now, we will see that everyone that attended and graduated college, must of had something really wrong with them, myself included. How are we able to do all this homework and keep up with social and economic pressure? Are we giving up our sanity in return? Are we blindly following a system that doesn't actually better us?

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