By Ahtiya Liles
I look at my high school experience as being pretty solid. I was fortunate in that way, as I know there are many people who would rather rip their eyeballs out than repeat even a year of high school. Whether or not you’re like me when it comes to your feelings about high school or like my eyeball-ripping-out companions, we can all agree on this: college is just so much better. And here are the Top 7 Reasons Why.
1. The Love Of Your Life: And by this, I’m mostly talking about your major. Your college probably has at least 75 different majors you can choose from. You can even sprinkle in some minors over the course of your four years, if you’re really feeling it. I love the fact that I am majoring in Theatre and Performance. I feel truly at home in my major, and that’s a feeling I hope everyone experiences in college. Even if everything else sucks, you should feel completely at home in your major – in your classes, with the people you major with, while you’re doing homework. Your major and the work you’re doing in it should excite you! Don’t get me wrong: not every class is going to be amazing. There will be those classes you would just want to punch in their face if they were a person. But those other classes, especially the ones you are supposed to dislike, they will make you want to never leave your field of study. For example: I detest 8:30AM classes with a burning passion. I mean, who wouldn’t? But my second semester of college, I had to take an 8:30AM Monday-morning Production Practicum class that went until at least 12:10. This was set up to make me hate it, but I loved it. I didn’t love the 8:30AM part about it, but I loved what we were doing in it (designing sets for our own imaginary shows, building the sets for other shows, geeking and talking about shows we had seen, etc.). I felt at home, even though it was 8:30AM. If you can take a class in your major that’s at 8:30AM on a Monday morning and still be excited about it, you’re in the right major.
2. “Yeah, I’m still in my room. I’ll be there in 2 minutes.”: This only applies to those who dorm, which I would totally recommend doing if you have the means to do so. One of the most annoying parts for me in high school was that I went to school in Rye, lived in Yonkers, most of my friends lived in or around Rye, and I didn’t have a car. And if you know the Westchester area and how the buses work at all, you know how much of a pain this can be. This meant that my social interaction with people was mostly limited to when I saw them in school. In college, however, my friends are less than a five minute walk away. Actually, everything on campus is about ten minutes away: food, classes, performances, the gym, rehearsals…and I love this. I love being able to get to things in ten minutes, without the 1+ hour commute. It allowed me the opportunity to be super invested in my college campus. Living on campus allowed my social interaction to expand…or not expand. Whether or not I take full advantage of this opportunity is a different story, but it’s nice to know it’s there because it’s a total game changer. There’s no worries about getting home on time or it being too late in the night to decide to go out. Dorming doubles your social time – you can have three hours on a Friday night be dedicated to watching Netflix, and then decide to go out afterwards and the night is technically still super young.
3. You Can Do The Ole’ Switcheroo: College is a time where it’s okay to explore and dip your toes in new subjects. You can also back out when you’re not feeling it. Some people come into college knowing exactly what they want, and they stick with the same major for all four years. There are others, however, that are constantly bouncing from major to major and still manage to graduate on time. Both of these paths are totally okay. Don’t be stuck in a major because you’re afraid you’ll fail in another one or that you won’t graduate on time. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Take the plunge! If there’s another area of study tugging at your heart strings, take a class or two within the subject next semester. And if you fall in love with the major and want to kiss your old one goodbye (or even double major or make that current major a minor), then DO IT! Don’t be afraid. You can always switch back if it doesn’t work out or switch to something else. At least $20K/year is being spent on you getting an education, so you might as well use it to the fullest advantage and not graduate feeling as if you wasted a ton of money.
4. Mo’ People, Mo’ Problems: College has a wide range of people, which is sometimes very annoying, but can be very promising. There’s more opportunities for friendships, more opportunities for personal growth, and, my personal favorite, more opportunities to hate people in order to find out your preferences in a person/friend. This last part is probably the most important part of meeting new people in college. How are you supposed to thoroughly know what you like in your friends if you have nothing to compare to? No, I’m being so serious. When you don’t like someone, there’s a reason for that, and you should pin down what that reason is because, most likely, your actual friends won’t have this character trait you hate so much. Once you figure out what you dislike in people, you will have an easier time finding people who are keepers and less times going through trials of friendships. Those you dislike are just as relevant as those you do like, at least until you figure out why you don’t like them. Once that happens, they’re no longer relevant. 🙂
5. My Classes = My Choices: Unless you go to a super strict college, you have tons more freedom. Your schedule is what you want, when you want it. You are more likely to be invested in your education if you are taking classes that interest you, and this relates back to what I said about picking a major, but this also applies to those classes that you need to fulfill a General Education/Core requirement or classes outside your major. There will be times where you might have to compromise for a class you really like/have to take at 8:30 in the morning, but then the simple solution is that you just don’t take a class afterwards and go back to sleep.
6. NAPTIME!: Remember when we were in Kindergarten and hated nap time for some unknown reason? Yeah, well, 6 year old us was pretty stupid because naps are heavenly gifts we must bestow on ourselves. Naps are an essential part of being a college student. I nap probably three times a week. Naps literally cure everything: hunger, sleep deprivation, anger, moodiness. They allow you to avoid people you don’t want to talk to, phone calls, responsibilities, impending doom… They are literally one of the greatest things ever and we slept on them when we were 6! See what I did there? 😉
7. The Invitation To Re-Invent: Even on a campus of 4,000 like my beloved SUNY Purchase, any college campus is still pretty big in the grand scheme of things. 4,000 is still a lot of people (this is usually considered a small or medium sized college), and with every new introduction comes the invitation to re-invent yourself. I’m not saying you should have three different versions of yourself walking around campus (and if you do, I would seriously and non-jokingly recommend seeing someone), but what I am saying is: don’t let yesterday’s downfalls and interactions stop you from living your best today and tomorrow. An ending of a friendship is just your life making room on the shelf for the beginning of a new one. And this logical can apply to everything. Always put your best self forward in any situation.
Comment below if you have anything to add or agree! 🙂