"It's going to be the best four years of your life!"
"College is where you find yourself!"
"I met all my best friends in college!"
You've heard all these sentiments before. Adults reminiscing, fellow students celebrating and people setting the standards for your college experience. But what if this isn't what college has been like for you? What if college just feels like another few years of required education before you can do what you want? What if you learn much more from working than from classrooms?
Then that's just fine. Welcome to the club.
You are not required to adore your time at college. If your goal is to get in, get your degree and get out into the world, then you aren't alone. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that being your college mindset. School is not for everyone, and you shouldn't feel bad if you aren't living it up in your college years.
If college isn't your scene, but you know that you've got to tough it out and get your degree, then it's important for your happiness' sake to find ways to be motivated. To make your time in school easier and feel like it's helping you reach your goal, there are several types of things you can do.
First, you can try and get your degree in under four years. Every college is different when it comes to their policies about credit hours and requirements, but you can explore the possibility of taking classes over the summers, online or in between semesters if offered. This would put you on the road to having the freedom to do what you love a bit faster.
Another option to make your time in school more bearable is to get a part time job in your desired career field. This makes you feel both productive and involved, as you're making connections and money while still in college. This method has personally provided me with a much better grip on my sanity, as I found a job I love and look forward to it every day. I even made the tough decision to transfer schools to be in the area of the company I wanted to work for so I could begin my career with them as soon as possible, and I'm so happy I did so.
Lastly, if speeding up your sentence or getting a job in your field aren't options, then it's important to find a few hobbies that you like and that will keep you going. For me, my involvement in my theater department, as it's my major, is one of the few things I enjoy about college. It lets me participate in what I love and has provided me a way to meet other like-minded people. I also work with several communication outlets, such as Odyssey as a writer and our student newspaper as a paid videographer. This allows me to make a bit of extra money and feel like I'm learning practical skills even when I spend the majority of my day stuck in a classroom. Additionally, these hobbies are nice additions to my resume for when I finally get to escape to the real world.
So if you're not partying every night and having earth shattering class discussions the next day, then don't sweat; you're not doing anything wrong. The classroom setting isn't for everyone and plenty of us prefer other environments as well. Hang in there, find a few things to keep you going and most importantly, don't let school exhaust you to the point that you lose passion for what you love. Your dreams are closer than you think.