After College Comes Life: Why Your 4 Years At School Won't Be The Best


Last week was one of those weeks: tests upon tests, a bad experience with a boy and the seemingly-endless sickness that all college students know far too well. On the verge of a meltdown, I called my best friend. As I recounted my stress and unhappiness, she tried her hardest to cheer me up.

After loads of good advice, she ended with a cliché I’ve been hearing far too often: "Don’t stress too much; college is supposed to be the best four years of your life." And, just as things seemed to be turning around, cue the meltdown.

As she always does, my friend ended up calming me down and my life returned to its normal, happy, unexciting state. But, something about those words led to thinking and the thinking led to a brief sadness. As much as I suppressed it, the thought kept creeping back in: "So, these are supposed to be the best years of my life?" Well, sh*t.

It’s not that my college years haven’t proven to be a ridiculous mess of amazing experiences because believe me, they have. It’s just that as an optimist, the notion of the best years of my life ending by the time I'm 22 was a pill I was not ready to swallow.

But the more I thought, the more I realized I wasn’t going to swallow anything. College is amazing. Our early 20s are amazing. But, that doesn’t mean the future can’t be amazing, as well.

As Generation-Y, we have such unique possibilities into which we haven't before tapped. Young people have more resources and choices. Once we move out on our own, we get hit with an overwhelming number of opportunities to grab life by the reigns and make it whatever it was always meant to be.

Get that dream job. Get that beautiful apartment. Get that perfect guy. And, if life doesn’t go according to plan, well, that makes it even better.

With responsibility comes accomplishment. The pessimists who believe the partying days to be the only ones with potential to be memorable clearly forgot that with the right work ethic, we all have the power to really make something of ourselves.

Life is yours for the taking, so go become a force with which to be reckoned. It could just be the optimist in me, but for all I know, you could change the world.

I also believe that our college years are ones in which we do our most valuable maturating. Some of our negative childish qualities still have a hold on our actions. Those four years may make us grow, but think of all the better times you are bound to have once some of that growing is under your belt.

I may only be an amateur philosopher here, but I think I may be on to something.“The best is yet to come” is not just something we tell ourselves as we get older because, in actuality, the best truly is yet to come. Bad days hit without warning, but as soon as they come, they suddenly go.

We meet someone new; we contribute to something amazing, and we realize that each day (or month or year) has the potential to be better than the next. Fear not; this absolutely doesn’t stop at 22. We will graduate; the world won't stop turning, and we’ll continue to have these so-called “best years” filled with accomplishments and excitements.

The contents of the future will be more amazing than we, as college students, could have ever dreamed possible.

So, reeling from last week’s meltdown and the storm of thoughts that followed, I finally feel at peace. The cliché goes, “These are supposed to be the best years of our lives,” but for what it’s worth, I’ve heard that writers hate clichés. It seems optimists do, too.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It