1. People constantly tell you that this is the best time of your life — and how carefree they were in college. Yet you have no money, you’re stressed out all the time, and every semester you get to think about how much debt you’re going to have when you graduate.
2. Never before has there been so many other options besides studying and writing another essay. And in order to write an essay, you have to use your computer — where Tumblr and Twitter and Reddit live. It takes an enormous amount of self-control just to stay productive.
3. You literally have no idea what you are doing. Yet you need to make decisions that impact the rest of your life all the time.
4. At some point you realize you share a bedroom with another person, you use disposable silverware for every meal, and you haven’t worn something other than sweatpants for 30 days.
5. You exist in an in-between time when having a college degree is still necessary for many fields, but know that you’re spending four years and thousands of dollars on something that will be mostly irrelevant in another decade.
6. The better the college that admits you, the less they offer you in financial aid.
7. There’s people living in war zones and literally starving — but yet you can’t stop complaining about waking up for an 8am class or being stressed over finals. You know there’s a bigger picture, it’s just hard to keep a perspective when you’re completely submerged in college life.
8. Despite the fact that there’s an unlimited amount of free resources on the internet, your professors still assign books that cost hundreds of dollars each semester.
9. Your parents don’t understand that it’s more expensive to live in 2014 than it was when they were your age. It’s not really an option to live without a cell phone or internet access. There’s more built in expenses now.
10. The price of gluten-free ramen cancels out the whole point of ramen.
11. Everyone goes abroad and tells you what a life-changing experience it is and how you’ll basically regret it for the rest of your life if you don’t do it. But you’re already unhappy about taking out loans and going abroad requires even more.
12. Unpaid internships. We’re apparently still doing this.
13. You spent hours in high school thinking about how cool college would be. You looked through blogs of awesome-looking dorm rooms and assumed you’d make yours one of them. Now, you literally live in a pile of dirty clothes and two empty Limearita cans on your desk.
14. Retirement kind of sucks because of the economy and being a professor is a pretty cushy job — meaning none of them are going to actually retire — meaning that if you fall in love with a discipline that you can basically only study if you hope to teach one day, you’re completely screwed.
15. Every kind of food that is available in your college cafeteria is terrible for you. Institutional food is always the last to catch up with nutritional findings and there’s nothing you can do about it.
16. By senior year, you finally get really good at researching esoteric topics and writing essays. Senior year will be the last time in your life you research esoteric topics and write essays.
17. No matter what you do there’s a kind of frantic pre-nostalgia feel to everything. You know these are going to be some of the best years of your life and you’re only young once, so it’s very hard to say no to anything. It’s hard to take a night off, even when your mental health depends on it. You always feel this vague pressure to be maximizing your “college experience.”