Continued education is one of the biggest decisions that arrives with your ascent into adulthood. It’s an all-encompassing experience- draining your bank account, giving you your first gray hairs, along with some of your most exciting independent successes-then spitting you out to face whatever career path you chose like a deer in the head lights. A really anxious, eager, deer.
Hollywood likes to paint college as the most exciting years of your life. Endless beer pong tournaments, afternoons of frisbee, and hilarious professors. Don’t get me wrong, these things all do exist. College is awesome. But it is also one of the most taxing things you’ll ever face. Just ask anyone who’s earned a degree. Attending a school for four years does not guarantee you a healthy credit score, a stable job with health benefits, and a house with a white picket fence. It’s weeks of eating ramen at a time, with no promise that the exam you’re staying up till two AM to study for will be an ace. It’s a chance for you to further your collection of tools. An opportunity is the most appropriate way to look at it. Once you’re out, it’s up to you to utilize what you’ve gotten out of that time.
I know I won’t be able to relate to all of you. But to me, college is something that I can’t describe in one satisfying sentence. In fact, I don’t think I could describe it in a whole page.
It’s late nights, completely unplanned, where you end up at a place you’ve never been, sharing stories you’d never share with the kids you’ve known your whole life back home, with a girl from your English class. It’s discovering your new favorite hole in the wall with the best pizza. College is a cluster of feelings. Completely foreign ones, that seem to come out of nowhere. It’s seeing a woman from the Times walk into your Journalism lecture hall, and suddenly drowning in the passion you’d forgotten about, to be a columnist, or an editor, and create your own powerful presence in the world. It’s falling in love. And then falling out of love, before it’s even started. It’s doing the same thing. Over. And over again. It’s proving yourself. Not only to that harsh professor, who seems to be bound and determined to fail you, but to yourself.
My self image was never that of the woman who stole the show when she walked into my Journalism class that day. But through grieving for my mother’s homemade chicken and rice, and exploding with happiness upon writing my first article…through working, harder than I ever have; I have been able to find, and create myself. I am whoever I want to be. And college is helping me do that.