How Expectations About My College Experience Almost Ruined My College Experience
I kept debating whether or not this would've done better as a College Magazine article or a Mulattea one, but ultimately I felt that I really wanted full autonomy on this (which includes excessive gif usage so get ready).
I went to a Christian school my whole entire life. I'm talkin' from first grade till twelfth. Twelve whole years at the same school, with the same students, and the same teachers. Going to this school, they tried to prepare you for the real world by telling you what college will be like.
So in attending the University of Maryland, I thought I knew how people would dress,
how they'd talk,
what they'd teach in classes,
and what they'd do for fun.
Just being real, people at my high school painted college as the devil's backyard. There'd be sex, drugs, alcohol, and gay people everywhere (gasp!).
(Pretty funny my roommate ended up being queer. Anyways.)
I spend my summer before college freaking out. My school population was about to go from 650 to 39,000. How could I be ready for that? And apparently, everyone there is going to be an atheist or some other type of heathen.
So I get to this sin-bed called college, and weirdly, my hair hasn't singed off. The people are actually nice to me, and I find that my teachers aren't demanding that I denounce God like that one movie said they would.*
Having those expectations made me apprehensive and skeptical about everything. People tried talking to me in those first couple days, but I was just so afraid and freaked out that conversations didn't get very far.
Eventually I settled. Sure, there were parties, but I just didn't go to them. Call me what you want, but I literally didn't go to any parties at UMD during my freshman year. I spent time with friends. I watched a lot of Netflix, and I took a lot of naps. I joined groups, wrote for publications, and I did my school work. And just being real?
I felt so lame.
Like c'mon, you're in college, Skye! You should be making the most of it! Party every weekend, seize the day! Best four years of your life, right?
I didn't feel like I was having the right kind of college experience, and I found myself lamenting this point to my friend Jason over lunch. (Bless his heart for listening to even half of my lunchtime ramblings.) But while we were talking, I realized how dumb I sounded.
"Ugh Jason. I'm not living my life the way people tell me I should live my life. I'm so stressed out because I'm watching Netflix instead of going to parties. Wah."
That day I came to the conclusion that expectations are whack. What's the point? Going into college, I was very reserved and standoffish because I had expectations about the people there. I probably missed out on some cool people just because of my apprehensiveness (there's also something to be said there about judging others). But then I'm in college, living my life how I want to, and I hate myself for not living up to others' expectations. It's like FOMO, but I didn't actually care if I missed out.
Don't get me wrong, I like to have a good time. Maggie and I had hella movie nights in our room, went out on weekends for sushi dates and late night runs to Incon. But I'm just not the type of person that wants to party hard and go out. I like my privacy; I like my bed. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I'm not squandering my four (actually two and a half now... early graduation—holla!) years of college. I'm not wasting them. I'm just spending them the way I actually want to. So all I'm saying on the topic of college expectations: They won't be the best four years of your life if you don't actually enjoy what you're doing.
*Reference to God's Not Dead