As a recent college graduate (December 2015) there are some things that I want to share about my college experience. If you’re about to start you college journey (or you’ve already been through college) do not compare yourself to my experience, it will be different.
Also, I apologize in advance because this topic became heavier than I wanted it to.
Some random facts about me and my college:
- I went to a Christian University (I’ll talk more about this later.)
- I went to a tiny school (maybe around 300 students).
- Yes, I went to an accredited university.
- I hated it (well, mostly).
Here are some things that I learned from my college experience.
- Be honest (with yourself). I started college with high expectations and a very naive mindset. When I started feeling that it wasn’t the place for me, I convinced myself to stay, thinking “It might get better” or “If you transfer, you’re a failure.” If I was honest with myself, maybe I would have realized that transferring was the right option for me.
- Small colleges are small. I had this idea that attending a small university would mean great classes and more interaction with the professors. What it really means is that everyone and their mother know your business.
- AP classes. If you have the opportunity to get college credit before entering college, DO IT. I was able to change my major a gazillion times and still graduate early. And you know, that’s one less math class.
- Alone time. Spending all your time with your roommate will drive you crazy. Learn to do things by yourself. One thing that really annoyed me when I was in college is how people don’t know how to do things by themselves. Whenever I wanted to eat a meal by myself someone would always ask me if I wanted them to sit with me. Um no? I’ve been feeding myself for some time now, I don’t need your help. Plus, we’re not even friends and I don’t need someone to hold my hand.
- Being an introvert in a world made for extroverts is not only hard, but unfair. I guess this could apply to any type of schooling, but there was definite favoritism at my tiny school and the common theme was extroverts. I often felt that my professors thought less of me because of my introvert tendencies (except for my psych professors, they got me).
- The campus library = my favorite place. Well, I did work there so it was easy for me to love it. My job at the campus library was one of my favorite things about college and I also loved the people I worked with. Also, I got a lot of stuff done.
- Having the support of friends is important. I lost and gained many friends by the time I graduated from college. It’s also important to surround yourself with people who will support you through whatever you’re going through. (If one of said friends reads this and there is no photo of you, don’t feel left out, I just don’t have a lot of photos of my friends. I take too many selfies.)
- Dull lectures are the perfect time for Sporcle quizzes. It’s addicting and when you have a 3 hour class, sometimes you just need a fun break.
- Going to a Christian University will stick with me for the rest of my life. This is a good and bad thing.
- Good: I learned so much. I can confidently say I know what’s up with the Old Testament (not that I actually know everything about it but I am no longer super confused). I also think it helped me develop a good work ethic.
- Bad: it severely damaged my spiritual life. It made me really question the Church and the motives of many Christians. I still consider myself a Christian, but now my ideal of following Jesus has changed. I don’t know if I’ll get back to church for a while. It also has changed how people see me. There’s a stigma on Christian Universities that they aren’t for serious study (except for ministry). I don’t know if my degree will ever be taken seriously (I think a lot of people question the accreditation of Bible Colleges). People act differently around me, like they have to walk on eggshells (you don’t, I can have a conversation about religion, politics, social issues, sex, feminism, music, pop culture, etc.).
- College was hard in a way I didn’t expect. I went to a very academic high school where I was writing weekly papers (10+ pages) by the time I was a junior. Academically, college was a breeze compared to high school. What’s hard is balancing a full schedule of classes, working part time, spending time with friends, and finding time to be alone. Since I went to a Christian University we were also required to do things like go to chapel 3 times a week, have devos every week, be involved with a church, and serve the community. And once you realize that it wasn’t what you expected it makes it that much more difficult.
College was hard for me. Not in the way of academia, but emotionally and mentally. There was a time I was depressed and I wanted so badly to leave. But I didn’t pretty much because I had a job. I will probably ask myself for a good while if it was worth it.
If I could give one piece of advice to anyone applying to college it would be to make sure it’s what you want. Don’t let someone pressure you into going somewhere you don’t want or choosing an area of study that won’t make you happy. Sure, you probably won’t know what you want to do with your life, but try to find a place that feels right to you.
I hope this helps someone who is confused about college or maybe you feel the same way. Or maybe you had an awesome college experience and this just makes you feel all that more grateful for it. I can’t say that I regret my college experience. There were ups and downs, but it was a learning experience that I will always be grateful for.