The misconceptions of college life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
College was not what I imagined.

Submitted: December 11, 2008

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Submitted: December 11, 2008

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When you graduate high school, it's exciting.  A new chapter is upon you.  You are free to go out into the world and create yourself.  It's almost like you are free of who you've been, in the event that you want to be free of that person.  I find the feelings that come with the approaching college graduation to be quite different.  Though I tried with everything I had in me to create an experience that matched that in which I saw in movies, I'm realizing that it never ends that way. 

I tried to fulfill the emptiness inside me with the party scene I had heard about and seen many times before.  I went to the crazy house parties and got drunk. I made out with random guys at the bar.  I danced and got so boozed up that I wasn't embarassed.  I tried to do all of those classic things that you see in movies and on tv and hear about from friends.  I had those moments where I was running around and the night air was just cool enough to make me shiver, but still warm enough for me to go out in a t shirt, and i'd lay back in the grass listening to the rowdy college kids come back from the bar.  I thought to myself, Is this what you've been looking for?  Don't get me wrong, these moments were always fun. They always provided me with a temporary release from the real world and a tiny dose of pleasure, but they were never enough.  At the end I felt less fulfilled because I was banking on these experiences to fill me. 

The next college experience I wanted to have, was making friends you really would have forever.  Your future bridesmaids.  The girls you weren't emberassed to change your clothes in front of or tell your insecurities to.  When you graduate, everyone tells you that you'll eventually leave your high school friends behind and make new friends that will be your BEST friends.  Once again I find myself unfulfilled.  I have tons of friends.  You could say that I even feel popular among those in my department.  But then I think about the tough times and who I could talk to, Is there anyone?  I had this one friend, Jenny.  We met as sophomores and we embarked on our quest for a degree together.  We were partners on every project and helped each other study.  We became very close outside of school during our junior year.  We hung out and worked out and went out.  Now as seniors, we sit next to each other in class, but I quickly realized that I can't remember the last school related thing we said to each other.  Someone asked me in passing what her plans were for the weekend, I had no clue.  I tried to talk to her, really engage her in conversation, no such luck.  Where are these friends that I was supposed to make?  Did I miss that part in the orientation packet?  How did I possibly fuck this up?

I have also, much to my disapointment, missed out on mind blowing college sex.We see it advertised on campus, in the media, and we hear about it.  The free condoms, the unsupervised dorm rooms, the high blood alcohol levels.  About that...I'll be graduating a virgin.  I'm actually ok with that though.  I've made out with a few guys at bars and parties while drunk, and I can comfortably say that I wouldn't want to have sex that way.  The whole notion of it, or how it's portrayed in my imagination seems fun, but I know that it's not like that in reality. 

Next we come to the stressed out academic college student. When you're a freshman, it's so cool to call home and say "oh I pulled an all nighter to write this 10 page paper in the library."  As a senior, no one cares that you just bull shited and wikipediaed  your way through 30 pages of pure crap and are completely doped up on caffeine and adderall.Well, at least you think it's adderol.  It's a pill that you spent $5 on that your friends sketchy boy friend said would help you focus.  What I'm basically getting at is, the stressed college student we hear about isn't accurate.  This person is working hard, getting good grades, productive, learning, smart,  and usually wearing a ralph lauren polo sweater and khakis. Maybe they're at a study group at the library or in the dorm lounge with other "stressed out college students."  In my experience, I have learned what it's really like.  What they fail to tell you is that in today's academic world, no matter who you are or what you're studying, you will never be smart enough, you will never be good enough, and there is rarely a moment when you will feel like you are good enough.  Today's stressed out university student is sitting in a dark room that they can't afford crying tears on their lap top that's about to break.  They use those last moments with technology to see that they have  -27 dollars in their bank account and that their professor just e-mailed them to tell them that the paper they spent days on earned a C.  These you have to understand are still the good days, because you're crying and you are still making an attempt to succeed.  You might even think the glass is still half full.  When you get to the final stretch you ahve all of this but you no longer give a fuck.  You realize that this whole system is bull shit.  Now that you can legally drink, you go to the liquor store and use your almost maxed out credit card for a bottle of whatever's on sale and you think "the good old days were when i only had - 27 dollars in the bank instead of this evil maxed out master card."  You go to your off campus shack that is 55 degrees because you can't afford heat and you sit at your desk contemplating the last four years as you drink your liquor alone.  Now these, my friends, are the dark days.

No one tells you about life after college graduation, like they spend 4 years preparing you for life after hs graduation.  You suddenly realize, fuck a b.s. isn't good enough (see a pattern?).  You start looking online at grad schools and grad programs and once again you think to yourself "Fuck I don't know where I want to go, I don't know what I want to be."  Then you recall the good ol' days when mom and dad paid for you to take the SAT,  You shell out 100 bucks for the GRE, 70 bucks for each grad school application.  You suddenly realize that you're paying all of this money and you don't even want to go to grad school.  Why would anyone want to pay to go through more of this?  How much can one person handle?  But then you remember that your current education isn't worth shit. 

The college life is glamorized.  You imagine these beautiful young people having the time of their lives while learning how to be better citizens and get jobs.  You fail to see the depression, the constant feeling that you're not good enough or smart enough, the alcohol and drug abuse, teh unhealthy amount of stress.  Adults, teachers, parents, guidance counselors, seem to think that college student stress is a synonym for hard work.  You learn fast that it isn't.  Almost all college students endure unhealthy levels of stress and or depression.  You go year after year being weighed down by the pressure when suddenly you're 21 and completely burnt out.  Now what?


© Copyright 2020 JamieNR. All rights reserved.

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