How many times have you heard, "college is the best time of your life?" I know I've heard it more times than I can count, and I tend to disagree. From what I've observed, college is considered the best time of your life because you have no REAL responsibility weighing you down. College is typically portrayed as a time for partying, socializing, and finding your future husband/wife. While that is somewhat true, I'd like to amend that statement to say, "college is the weirdest time of your life."
Before you tilt your head in confusion, hear me out.
Up until I graduated, I knew that I was a child because I lived with my parents, didn't have any bills to pay, didn't have to worry about buying food, or any of the other "adult" things. Even if you have a job in high school, you're not working in order to support yourself. I worked in high school to have a little bit of income coming my way, but if I didn't have that job, I would have survived. Once you become an adult, and I mean a full-blown adult, all of a sudden you have all those bills to pay and a job that you need in order to survive. You start living on your own and before you know it, your life is yours. No more living under your parents' roof and rules. College students, though, are in this weird limbo between child and adult because they are still dependent on their parents' insurance but expected to make adult decisions at the same time.
So what is important about the college years anyway? Now that I've been immersed in the college experience for 3 years, I think I'm finally able to answer this conundrum.
Find your Worldview
College is a transition period - a time for young adults to figure out what they believe in before they are completely thrust into adulthood.
As a child, it is so easy to just smile and nod without understanding the world around you. When I went off to college, I was the kid that would make decisions based on what would make my parents happy. I didn't really have a mind of my own. However, I went to Stetson University where my entire world was turned upside down! I was submerged into a culture that was the opposite of the Seven Rivers Christian School community I grew up in. At the time, it was overwhelming. I was drowning in liberalism and independence. Looking back at my experiences, though, I realized that my struggles made my worldview stronger. I finally understood what I believed because I was looking at the world dead in the face. There was no sugarcoating. There was no hiding behind someone else's beliefs. I had to take a stand for what I believed was right and wrong.
Take this time of transition and focus on becoming the individual you want to be while you don't have the stress of bills, jobs, and children. You might feel weird a lot of the time because you're this child/adult hybrid, but embrace it and figure out what you believe about the world.
Put the Spouse Hunt on the Back Burner
The common conception is that college is for finding "the one." There are so many people I know that have come to college to find a husband, and honestly, it makes me sad. All these girls want to do is find their husband and become a housewife, which is fine. I know later down the road, I want to be married and have kids. That isn't the problem. The problem is that people waste thousands of dollars just to get that famous MRS degree.
Your main goal in college should be to earn the higher education that you're spending all that money on. Is finding your husband or wife while in college a good thing? Absolutely! You shouldn't feel shame for finding the person that the Lord has for you. However, don't let that guy or girl control your college life. Study hard, build friendships, focus on YOU because guess what? Once you get married and start a family, you are not going to have a lot of "you time."
I've used this line time and time again - You can't give 100% to someone else if you have never given 100% to yourself.
It is okay to be selfish. I know, it feels just as weird to type it as you read it. This is probably the ONLY time in your life where it is okay to put yourself first. Take your time. The right person is out there for you. God isn't going to give your future spouse to someone else because you aren't ready to meet him or her yet. Just relax! Take time to get to know who you are.
I have never heard someone say, "Man, I wish I didn't take the time to get to know myself." You know why? Because it's necessary.
Overall, I guess what I'm trying to say is the college years are weird because it is a time of devoting your time to self-improvement. My whole life I was taught to put others first, and because of that, I never learned how to put myself first when I needed to. Don't stop loving and helping others, but take these four years to discover the balance of helping others and helping yourself. Your mental health will be so much better for it, and you'll be properly prepared for the life the Lord has for you outside of college.
Embrace the weird! Be a college student.
Good luck, weirdos. See you this fall!
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