Friday, August 3, 2018

What I've Learned From Unconventional College Experience

If you were to sit me down, iced coffee in front in me and asked me what my college experience has been like, I'd take a long, reflective sigh, a sip of my coffee, and then maybe laugh. The truth is, college has been anything but normal for me. I went to a big university, then left, took a break, came to a community college, graduated, took another break, and then some more classes. I'm beginning to realize I'm not even sure I know what I've done it exactly for, but I know that through all the craziness I wouldn't have had it any other way. It's taught me to be okay with change (well, it's day by day) & that time is never linear. 

There isn’t a right way to do university. The “normal” steps to take in education are graduate high school, get into a good college, and study something you’re passionate about & have a degree in four years. But that normal path is becoming less & less normal, especially with the depressing job market (it took my best friend nearly two years to find a job in her field, and that’s just one example of too many to count) more people taking a gap year, realizing the field they want to specialize in doesn’t necessarily need a full degree, and the list goes on. Sometimes four years becomes five, or six, or even ten. 

None of it is the wrong way. 

What I've Learned From My College Experience

Isn't that what college is about, anyway? Figuring out which major the classes make you excited to get out of bed for, and which ones you don't particularly enjoy. Finding out if you wanna join a sorority or make a genuine friendship with the girl that sits behind you in algebra. Getting to know your roommate, pulling an all nighter on a paper you definitely BS'd after that third cup of coffee. Sure, these things are major cliches in films, but they also happen in real life. And you experience them and you'll love it, or you might realize it's just not for you. You might change your major five times. You might switch schools or leave altogether.

The fact that we're always connected to each other, scrolling through timelines of the highlights of friends can seem disheartening when it feels like you're the only one whose plan seems to be terribly off course. But, there isn't a right way to do university, or a wrong way. (except maybe flunking out. Don't do that) Frankly, I call BS on this whole 'you have to do things on a timeline!' crap we've been fed our entire lives. It almost immediately sets us up for failure, because we're so afraid of failing.

So, if you're reading this, terrified because you're about to leave home for the first time, or fretting because you're afraid you're letting your 20s pass you by and you're not where you want to be, or if you don't know what's even going on anymore (lol same) give yourself some credit for getting this far. You'll keep getting further.


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