Many people start college thinking that life will be like the stock pictures used in the promotional brochures. Society tells us that high school and college will be the time of our lives. For some of us, however, the college experience is less idyllic than often depicted.
Maybe you weren’t accepted into your dream sorority or extra curricular; maybe your grades are suffering or the person of your dreams won’t give you the time of day.
Maybe you may have everything needed for the ideal college experience, yet you still feel unfulfilled.
For whatever reason, you simply do not feel like your college experience is up to par. Unfortunately, there is no quick formula to cure the college rut, but taking a different perspective on your experience may make it more fulfilling.
Here are some tips on how to make your college experience more enjoyable:
Forget the expectation
The expectation of an amazing college experience in itself can cause great turmoil. We start constantly comparing ourselves to others and focusing on what we don’t have if we’re not living like our peers.
While college does offer great opportunities, it really only occupies a small part of our lives. The social and academic realities of college are not necessarily transferrable to the realities of the rest of our lives.
Therefore, what may be perceived as an unpopular social or academic choice in university, may not have the same implications for the rest of our lives. Allowing an expectation to define our satisfaction for four years can ruin the awesome experience we could be having.
Make a list of your personal goals
Once you’re able to rid yourself of society’s expectations, it’s time to understand your personal goals. It’s easy to forget your true purpose at college.
The first year is filled with social inaugurations, a slew of new relationships, separation from familiarity and usually more stressful academic pressures.
You get sucked in a vortex of time-consuming activities, leaving little space to truly contemplate the reasons why you are at school in the first place. Setting personal goals makes it easier to set your priorities.
Once priorities are made, the tough decisions become less overbearing. For the sake of our parents, most of us will consider our education the priority. Unfortunately, setting the priority is the easiest part. Knowing how to actually achieve your personal goals is the hard part.
Learn what you truly enjoy
We are often taught that our obligations and the things we like to do are mutually exclusive, when in reality, each serves to ensure the possibility of the other. It’s important to allow yourself the time to explore and find the things that truly make you happy.
If what makes you happy is sitting in your dorm in a sports bra and writing an article to give advice to other students, go ahead.
Relaxing in your own way
It also is important to learn how to relax in the way you feel most comfortable. When feeling stressed, a lot of our peers would suggest large quantities of alcohol, a room full of inebriated students and deafening EDM.
For some of us, these suggestions serve more as a burden than a remedy. One of the reasons why a lot of people cannot find the thing that makes them happy is the fact that we limit ourselves to the activities others think should make us happy.
Enjoy the Process, Not Only the Goal
In general, this is solid advice for your whole life. Often, too much emphasis is placed on the ends rather than the means. We focus so much on our goals that we forget the fulfillment that can be achieved during the process.
It also makes life quite tedious if you only see value in activities that are applicable to a goal. Most of our lives will be the process, so making our whole lives about the small moments where we reach our ends ignores the significance of the process.
For the next four years, learn to enjoy the little inconsequential things, without focusing too much on impending graduation or other goals.