All throughout high school, the idea of “peaking” when you got to college was constantly being pushed onto me. If college ever made its way into a conversation with someone who had already experienced it, they’d always something along the lines of, “Just you wait, it was the best four years of my life!” I’d always smile and nod as this person would recall crazy stories about spring break or what their frat or sorority would make them do.
But under this smile was a gut-wrenching question that I needed to know the answer to. After the (presumably) best four years of my life, would everything take a turn for the worse? I pondered this thought for most of my high school experience, wondering just how fun and exciting college would be that it would make the rest of my life seem bleak and boring.
I get it, college is supposed to be a major turning point for those who, like myself, didn’t have the most amazing experience in high school. College is a unique experience that anyone who goes is lucky to have. I’m not saying that I don’t love college because I truly do, but there has to be something even more amazing after this.
My idea of peaking is definitely not the same as what all those people thought who claimed that college is “the BEST." I hope that living my best life isn’t partying Thursday-Saturday and studying my ass off for the rest of the week. Peaking is not about living semi-independently, it’s about taking life into your hands and being able to make your own decisions 100% of the time.
It’s not just about only being able to see your long-distance boyfriend a few times a year and constantly being jealous of all the people who get to spend time with him. It’s about moving forward with the people you love, building incredibly strong relationships, and growing together. It’s not about being stranded on a campus with only Ubers to drive you to the nearest CVS. It’s about being to travel where you want to travel with no borders (or your mom’s credit card) holding you back.
I want to peak in my 20s, engaged to my fiancé and starting a new and promising life. I’m waiting for my first real paycheck. And no, not the $100 one you get for working two weeks as a counselor in a little rundown day camp. I want to look at my adorable little apartment in the city and know that all of it was possible because of me. And honestly, I just want to keep going up.
But none of this is possible without college. So, I will continue to embrace what it has to offer me and just hope that my time to peak will come. For now, I'll just continue to daydream about backpacking across Europe with the love of my life from my quaint college campus in North Carolina.