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Why college shouldn’t be the best years of your life

By Brooke Bailey

There’s this everlasting phrase that our family members use as comments on all of our Facebook photos, or say to us on every holiday break— “Enjoy college while you can. It’s all over after that!”

This phrase carries a lot of pressure with it. Pressure to make sure that college students live it up, party all night and make everlasting friends, like in the movies. Although, that isn’t always the reality of college.

That is to say — I hope that my college years are not the best years of my life.

My typical day in college consists of running around attempting to tackle my expanding to-do list. Avoiding clocks is a great way to not remind myself that I simply do not have enough hours in one day to finish my tasks, scarf some food down between classes, maybe socialize for a few minutes — all while aiming to get at least enough sleep to ensure I will wake up for my alarm clock the next morning. Are these types of days supposed to be the best days of my life?

Maybe this phrase is referring to the fleeting two-day weekend that college students posses? Yes, our weekends are only two days because let’s be honest, Sundays are solely meant for catching up on the homework we didn’t have time to finish during the week prior. For most of us, Friday and Saturday nights are fun. It’s the only time of the week that we can hang out with our friends without having to worry about the time, or the amount of homework, projects and studying that is waiting for us. Even so, these weekends can’t be “the best weekends of our lives.”

I’m not saying that college isn’t enjoyable, because it is. College is meant to be a place in our lives where we attempt to find ourselves. It’s about trying new things, meeting new people and testing our limits. It’s meant to prepare us for the world that lies ahead, while trying to figure out some muddled plan for what we will do next. College is fun compared to the previous 17 years of our lives that we were accustomed to, but think of our limitations. Most of us are too broke to travel. Or we don’t have enough time since we spend our summers working and saving money to support ourselves in the school year. For at least half of our college years we aren’t old enough to go out to the bars with our friends, and we still have to spend money on those annoying and seemingly useless astronomy and art history classes.

Still, we should have a great time in college. So go out with your friends, pull all-nighters, keep ordering cheap pizza and do whatever makes you happy — just don’t peak because you feel that you have to. It’s too early in our lives for us to reach our peak. By the time we graduate college, we will still be in our early 20s, only about a quarter of our lives having gone by. We still have so much to do.

I’m not sure what many adults are talking about when they say that it’s all downhill after college. We spend our time in college studying to achieve the jobs and lives that we want. Once I graduate, I want to pay bills and taxes. I want to live in my first tiny rundown apartment. I want to go on 50 interviews while looking for a job that ensures I didn’t waste four years in college pursuing the wrong degree. I don’t want an easy life, I want to struggle. College isn’t our best years because we get to avoid the hardships of real life; we go to college to prepare ourselves for the hardships of life, and we will be ready.

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