“Just wait until you enter the real world.”
How many times have we heard these words? How many times have we sat by while our parents or professors or advisors pretend like as college students, our problems are so easy compared to theirs? Well, I’m tired of it, and I hope anyone reading this will agree.
Coming into college as a naïve and inexperienced freshman, we are immediately bombarded. Join this club. Get involved with this organization. Take this class. Earn straight A’s. Be social on weekends. Get enough sleep. Make sure you’re eating properly. It’s overwhelming for 18 year olds who were wearing their high school cap and gown just months earlier, and it only gets harder from there.
By junior and senior year, our attention has to not only focus on school, grades and extracurricular activities, but now internships (often unpaid), leadership positions and work experience. We are expected to have an impeccable resume, from a high GPA to a plethora of impressive activities. We have to have our elevator pitch memorized and our blazers readily pressed for interviews. At the risk of sounding cliché, a college student’s plate is more than full.
Now, this is not to say universities shouldn’t push their students and ready them for the workforce. Working hard is necessary to find success, both in and after college. But, these absurd standards and demands for perfection are simply unfair to our generation.
Yes, college is the time to study and prepare for a career in a particular field, but it is also the time to find ourselves. We are making life long friends and experiencing things that we may not otherwise have a chance to later in life. We are falling in love and out of it. We are officially growing up.
What some adults don’t realize is that we are still young. We are going to mess up and not everything we do will go off without a hitch. There will be exams we’ll completely bomb and interviews where we forget our own names. College students are not robots, and don’t always have their lives flawlessly planned out before they are even old enough to legally buy a beer.
We can’t change society’s ridiculous expectations for us, but that doesn’t mean we have to kill ourselves over them. Perfection is unattainable, so don’t spend your time in college striving for it. Do your best, work to your full potential, and the right opportunities will come. Many of us only get four years, so let’s make the most of them.