I have been told numerous times that I’m not doing college right. Apparently, I’m missing out on the college experience, and in the long run, I’ll regret it. I wasn’t aware that there’s some kind of rulebook to experiencing college. I didn't know that there's only one way to enjoy your college years. When I think about it, my undergraduate experience thus far definitely isn’t what most people would want or expect out of their own college experiences. It is the exact opposite of what a high school student imagines when dreaming about college. Yet, it is exactly what I want and have always wanted.
I still live in my family home and commute anywhere from thirty-five minutes to one hour in order to get to school every single day. I have never had my own dorm or apartment or any roommates. I spend the majority of my time studying or fulfilling commitments such as volunteering and working in a research lab. I have a few close friends but not a giant circle. I’m not involved in a sorority or fraternity. I have never been to a party nor have I ever had a sip of alcohol. (I’m not holier than thou; I just know that I would be the world’s biggest mess if I ever got drunk, so I just avoid it entirely). I never cut classes and typically don’t stay out past midnight.
I may not have the stereotypical college experience, but I promise that I’m happy. I’m having the time of my life studying a subject that I love, seeing my family every day, going on food adventures with my friends, and getting involved in my community and campus. To me, this is extremely fulfilling and all I could possibly want and need out of college, but everyone is different. If you strive to have the stereotypical college experience, go for it. Whatever your college experience is, make sure it’s what you want.
You don’t need validation from anyone when it comes to your life and your choices. You don’t need to justify yourself whether you have the typical college experience or not. Sometimes, I do wonder if I’m truly missing out. It’s impossible for this thought to not cross my mind when some of my fellow classmates constantly tell me that I’m going to regret being such a “prude” in the future. I, however, know for a fact that I won’t regret my choices. When I wake up each morning, I ask myself what I’m waking up for, what motivates me. I ask myself if I feel like anything is missing, if I can possibly be happier if I added something else to my life. Sometimes, the answer is yes. But the answer has never been, “Yes, I’ll definitely be happier if I go to an apartment party and drink five cans of beer right now.” If that’s your answer, then I encourage you to (safely) go for it. I am content with prioritizing my education above all else; I typically don’t want to engage myself in activities in which I don’t see any opportunities for personal growth or gratification. I’m a simple person. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, and I assure you that I have everything I need.
There is not one singular college experience that we all must have. Our situations and preferences are all different. Every now and then, I do get insecure about my college experience. I’m only human, and the words of others do affect me. But I remember that deep inside I’m fulfilled. I have my own approval and validation, and that’s all I truly need. So here’s to being a prude.
Note: To all my friends who party, stay safe!