Opinion | College doesn’t have to be the best years of your life

For some college is the best years of their life. For others, it isn’t


Grace Kreber

Partygoers dance to Taylor Swift songs at Gabe’s who hosted The Taylor Party: Taylor Swift Night on Friday, May 6th, 2022.

Elise Cagnard, Opinions Columnist

Our whole lives seem to be leading up to college. From preschool to high school, we are inundated with idealistic expectations of what the college experience will bring us.

We might not know exactly what to expect, but we are assured that we are embarking on the best four years of our lives.

Sadly, for many, this expectation is not met.

College does not always match the Hollywood movies we’ve grown up watching. Unfortunately, not everyone walks through campus and instantly finds the perfect group of friends you’ve always wanted, while also figuring out your career path in your first ever lecture.

While college is a formative experience and it is often the place where people make lasting friendships and impactful memories, the pressure to have the best time of your life has an extremely negative effect.

For some, they put so much pressure on themselves that every moment is tainted by the fear that they’re not enjoying it enough. This fear has led to the common acronym on social media “FOMO,” or fear of missing out.

Four years can fly by, and many are too worried about missing out, they never appreciate what they have.

This also makes it difficult to enjoy the simpler things in life; A quiet night in with roommates might feel like a waste of time as many feel obliged to go out every night. But this may lead someone to miss out on the unplanned moments that lead to the best times of college.

I am currently in my third year of college, and I can confidently say that all my best memories are tied to unplanned events, in opposition to trying to force myself to make a memory.

While this might seem like it’s a phenomenon that is all in someone’s head, there are many outside influences that factor in.

Many share the universal experience of visiting home and having all the adults in your life ask about the amazing time you’re having or hear parents reminisce on their glory days of college. This mounting pressure adds more to the already overwhelming experience.

This was particularly relevant in the last few years due to the isolation caused by COVID-19. Many people were not able to make as many friends as they planned because of restricted socialization with online classes and limits on large social gatherings.

This added barrier only furthered the unmet expectations some people held.

The simple truth is everyone experiences life differently. For some, college is some of the best moments of one’s life, and for others it’s not. It takes some a few extra years to find their nook in the world where they feel as though they belong.

There’s no shame for this to take longer for some, whether this happens when you’re fifteen, twenty-one or thirty. Some may find it much easier to do after college once some of the pressure of fitting in absolves.

There’s no right or wrong way to go through college, and if you are happy, you’re living your own best experience.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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