Searching for ‘The’ College Experience


As children, many college students remember being bombarded with stories of parents’ times in college and the shenanigans they got into. My high school calculus teacher used to tell my class stories of how he would throw water balloons out of his window to hit the unsuspecting passerby beneath him. With all of these great stories and many people saying college is “the best four years of your life,” it’s no wonder there are so many expectations that a freshman brings along with extra-long sheets, detergent packets and a $40,000 tuition bill.

There are generally two types of freshmen: those who go home every weekend, trying to cling onto the home life they’re not ready to leave yet or the ones who stay every weekend determined not to miss out on “the college experience” they’ve heard so much about. The former usually have a hard time making friends, but the latter often lose the old ones. However, it takes a mixture of the two personalities to really have a great time in college.

There’s something to be said for trying new things and going out of one’s comfort zone in college. It’s these situations that usually make up the most memorable moments of life. However, the overall satisfaction that comes from looking back on four formative years will come more from the strong friendships made, the number of movie-nights had or the time that all-nighter paper comes back with an “A.” So students shouldn’t worry if they feel like they’re missing out on some great thing if they don’t go out and party, if they only have two or three close friends or if they spend more nights in than out. It’s up to the individual how great college is. It doesn’t matter what other people think.

Even if students go home every weekend, that’s no reason to judge. It takes each person a different amount of time to adjust to college life and once they hit their stride and become more comfortable with the atmosphere, they’ll probably want to stay more.

The moral of the story? There’s no typical college experience. There will be those who party and make great memories that way. There will be others who make a couple great friends and stay in most weekends, or even go home. However, students shouldn’t expect to find the be-all-end-all college experience they see in movies. Instead, they should trust their own instincts, ignore the people who say they’re doing it wrong and enjoy four great years.


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