It’s graduation season and my social media is filled with smiling grads lauding the ~magic~ of their college experience. But while I am so proud of all my friends and classmates, I can’t relate to their sappy posts. For me, college was hell.
Before I go any further- I’m not attempting to extrapolate my experience to anyone else’s. There isn’t a “correct” college experience, no matter what anyone says. If you loved college, that’s cool. If you hated college, that’s cool too. If you have a very complicated relationship, I’m right there with you.
On the outside, I seemed like I was having a great college experience- good student, founder of many clubs, participant in many more. But these resume items don’t tell the whole story. Neither did the glossy, filtered pictures that ended up on my social media. Underneath the superficial layer was a stressed, anxious, isolated student. I felt guilty; why wasn’t I enjoying school like everyone else seemed to be? Was something wrong with me? (Spoilers- there wasn’t)
It took me five years to realize that you aren’t obligated to enjoy college. Don’t force (or expect) yourself to do anything that you don’t feel happy or comfortable with, regardless of the explicit or implied pressure to. Most importantly- if there’s something you feel confused or anxious about it’s okay to get help. Most schools have counselors on campus or can direct you to ones off campus. Trust me, you are not alone.
To whoever said that college should be the best years of your life- I think you need to reevaluate. Glamorizing college stereotypes leaves a lot of people behind. Maybe developing a healthy relationship with yourself, including developing healthy coping and self-care mechanisms, should be what the goal of college is.