Remember the last week of high school? You relaxed with friends, took pictures of everything, and daydreamed about college. After all, you’d been stuck in the same building for four years. College is still a utopian dream free from all the drama, rumors and immaturity of high school. I remember looking forward to being around people who would cough and sneeze into their elbows instead of spreading their germs like wildfire.
The reality of university life starts to take hold after about the first month here. You don’t magically become adults when you get to college. After all, you aren’t that far removed from high school yet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen students here sneeze into their hands and then grab door handles.
It can be so disappointing when you realize that college is more like high school: part two. Part of the problem is that so many movies and television shows give us a false picture of what college will be like.
On screen, college students all look like they are in their late twenties. They have classes outside where they sit in circles and discuss philosophy. They have dorm rooms where the floor tiles all match and the paint isn’t chipping.
At night, they all go to epic parties filled with guys who look like professional athletes and girls who look like models. And without fail, at least one of those girls will take off her shirt in front of a nerdy guy.
Shopping catalogues (I’m talking to you, Target) show us another fictionalized version of college.
According to the pictures, every single one of us will have a perfect roommate. We’ll have huge dorm rooms with great furniture. Everything in the room will stay clean and organized. Our decorations will be awesome and color-coordinated. And we will always be smiling.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t look like a model in her late-twenties, my classes are generally indoors, and my dorm room is somewhere in between functional and slap-dash.
I think that once college students get through a couple of semesters, they are noticeably more adult. I’m a junior now, and in many ways I’ve changed from who I was in high school. It’s just hard to notice these changes when we seem so immature compared to the mythological college world we see in film and advertisements.
We are becoming adults, but it’s a slow process. We learn by trial and error. I certainly don’t consider myself a full-fledged adult yet. I have friends in their forties that still don’t consider themselves grown ups.
As much as the world wants us to believe that there is a set time we enter different stages of our lives, it isn’t true. You can’t grow up according to a schedule.
That being said, college doesn’t have to seem like a repeat of high school. If you were looking forward to something about college that hasn’t happened on its own, then make it happen for yourself.
If you daydreamed about being in a sorority or fraternity, go check out Tech’s greek life. If you looked forward to sitting in the grass debating Aristotle, grab some friends and head to Sherlock Park. And if you drooled over dorm decoration advertisements, then grab your debit card and start shopping.
Everyone wants to tell you that college is the best four (or more) years of your life. In reality, it’s up to you to make the experience everything you dreamed it would be.