Why "The College Experience" Is Overrated

College girl holding red book while smiling

It's often said that college will be the best four years of your life, but let’s be real… is it actually? And should we want it to be? Before moving to college for freshman year, I was convinced that my life was about to change, and I was going to have the best time of my life. Half of that statement turned out to be true, because my life did change. But has it been the best four years of my life? Absolutely not. 

During my first semester of college, I struggled…big time. I had a group of friends, who, let’s just say, were not my type of people, and I struggled more than ever with my mental health. I had good times here and there, but there were also a LOT of lows. My difficult journey made me feel horrible about myself because this was supposed to be the best four years of my life! It seemed like all my friends at home were having a blast, but why wasn’t I? 

These questions spun around in my head, which did not help my situation. However, I realized that my feelings were heavily influenced by societal pressures. The rhetoric that college will be the “best four years” of your life is utter bullshit. Not only does it place an enormous amount of pressure on young people to have a good time no matter what, but when we find ourselves struggling, we feel broken, and fear wasting our prime. When college is set up to be the climax of your life, it suggests that post grad is a dreaded time. And if your college years were miserable and post grad is supposed to be even worse, then it seems like your life is only going downhill. But this doesn’t have to be your narrative.

There will always be different chapters in your life, good or bad. One chapter isn’t going to be universally fantastic for everyone, and it shouldn’t be. Instead of focusing on making one chapter the best time ever, you should try to make each year better than the last. Or at least attempt to grow through your experiences! If your college years were absolutely amazing, that's great! But that doesn’t mean those years have to be the highlight of your entire life.

Although college has been a bumpy ride for me and my mental health, it has taught me so many life lessons, and allowed me to explore myself and my identity. These years have truly been the most formative of my life, but the “best” is definitely a no for me. 

Written by: Emily Mendieta

Instagram: @emilizmen

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