I remember it well: that annoying moment during high school winter break when one of my older friends came back home and said, "ugh, everything is so much better when you're in college" or "when you're in college you'll understand." It always royally pissed me off. But here's the thing: what those self-righteous friends of mine were saying was true.
College is better than high school. Much better. Now, I'm not one of those people who stands by the belief that "college is the best four/five/six years of your life," but I do firmly believe that college is providing me with the opportunities to live the best life I can and is turning me into a better version of myself. Here's why:
College is increasing my independence
Just a few short years ago, I would ask my teachers to use the bathroom, ask my parents if I could go to the movies, ask my friends before I bought an outfit, and basically rely on everyone else to do things. I felt the need to validate my every move with someone else's permission, but in college, clearly that is not the case. Not only have I lived on my own in college, I now have to manage my own finances, make sure I get my work done, and make sure I get enough sleep. These things can be stressful, but now I can't imagine life any other way. College is making me responsible for myself, and I must say, freedom tastes pretty sweet.
College is making me more confident
I'll own it, I've gotten better looking since high school (who hasn't?). But that's only a small factor that's increased my confidence. In college, I've applied for scholarships, joined organizations, given 100-point presentations in front of classes of 80 people, and been put in charge of bigger things than ever before. Because of these challenges (and my more mature face, thanks puberty), I feel more comfortable approaching cute strangers, taking on new projects, introducing myself to important people, and looking in the mirror and liking what I see.
College is making me funnier
I know what you're thinking: "What? How is this possible?" It's true. It's probably due to me growing up and surrounding myself with people with actually intelligent senses of humor (there are funnier things than GIFs of people crashing dirt bikes, people). I've always been sarcastic, but the assholes I meet in my classes with their beautifully dry senses of humor have only made me more so. Honestly though, people actually laugh at my jokes now, and I'm not afraid to tell them (see the confidence paragraph).
College is making me healthier
My mom might disagree. I get a lot less sleep and "go out" a lot more than I did in high school, but I also keep busy and spend a lot less time on my ass. Plus, walking all over campus to my classes and a free gym membership does wonders. Remember, the Freshman 15 only happens if you let it.
College is making me more ambitious
Maybe my favorite thing about the college experience is seeing people who have actually done awesome things with their lives. I've met people who have traveled the world, accomplished amazing things in their glamorous careers, and made great strides in their fields. These people make me feel like I can do these things too, and push me towards my goals.
College is making me connected
In high school, I knew my graduating class, family friends, and a few teachers I liked. Now, I meet new people at every event, social, party, meeting, conference, and class that I go to. Plus, getting more involved has allowed me to befriend Student Body senators, chairpeople, club presidents, and more. Also, the more time I spend here, the closer I get to my professors and advisers, who can help me make the right academic choices and can recommend me for internships and good jobs. And, you know, the actual relationships you make are a perk.
College has made me more appreciative
College life might be busy as hell, but running around all day has really made me appreciate the free time I do have. My personality has become chiller, because with school, extracurriculars, social activities, and ALL THE STRESS, I simply don't have time for drama or unnecessary distractions. Maybe I've grown up, but I appreciate random acts of kindness and my friends/family more than ever. College has also made me realize how lucky I am to be here at all, because all it does is improve my life and my character.
College is making me more interesting
Long gone are the days of only Top 40 and Sara Dessen books. The challenging classes I take and the interesting people I meet in them have really broadened my horizons. Now, weird movies are cool to me and studying abroad doesn't seem so out of reach. Spotify Premium is only like $5 for students, so awesome music is easily accessible, too. Thanks to college, I can talk for hours about obscure shit and retweet stuff from accounts other than Common White Girl without being an annoying hipster. And I DO stuff! Concerts, plays, comedians, and PARTIES are usually free in college, so I take away awesome stories from all of these things. Let's just say I'm not the last one out in that Five Fingers party game anymore.
Well, no shit. But the great thing about a liberal arts education is the fact that you learn stuff that you never thought you wanted to, but are happy that you did. I've taken classes that have nothing to do with my future career, but turn out to be incredibly interesting. Did you know "The Shining" could be about the staging of Apollo 11? I didn't, until college.
College has made me more fun
It's college. What did you expect?