College is a time for exploring, for searching, and for making decisions: good and bad ones. Unfortunately, there are some things that we spend way too much time stressing about. Here are five of them:
1. Finding True Love
It seems that from the very moment we step onto campus we can become obsessed with finding “the one”. We look in our classes, we look across college green spaces, and we look while half drunk at some nasty house party. We desperately download Tinder or Grindr or Okcupid and orchestrate a search of such a scale that could only be comparable to a full-fledged police manhunt.
And sometimes we think we’ve found it. We might actually find a sentient-being willing to spend time with us — with a pulse and everything! Then we give it a few days, realize he is a douche, or stumble upon some random criteria he just doesn’t fit, and restart the search all over again.
Being single doesn’t make you a lesser cut of a person. We are all perfect just the way we are. Love shouldn’t be something you need in order to feel worthwhile; it should be something that accents the greatness you already have.
2. Getting the Best Grades
A quiet shadow of high school exists in our obsessions with scores that only might actually be important. This syndrome isn’t aided by the multitude of classes that are graded on a “curve” system, forcing us to constantly be paranoid about where we stand compared to our peers. Sometimes it can make us too competitive, too bitter, and too obsessive.
I’m not saying grades don’t matter. They do, especially if you want to continue your education further, but the proportion of time we spend worrying about them is nowhere near the proportional impact they truly have on our lives. No matter how you do on your next exam, you will survive another day. Your dreams will evolve and grow, no matter what letter grade your O-Chem professor pegs you as. Grades are so arbitrary and temporary, and we seem to give them permission to define far too much of who we are.
“Fear of Missing Out” = “I actually really want to lay in bed and watch Netflix tonight, but what if my friends have an awesome time and I’m not there??”
FOMO is a side effect of social media and the fact that we can see pictures, videos, and tweets about things in real time as they happen. We become paranoid about not getting every last drop of life out of our college experience and feel like we have to always be moving. FOMO is a chain that forces you into doing things you don’t want to do. Throw your FOMO in the trashcan, and pick up some DOTUW — Doing Only (the) Things You Want (okay, the acronym blows, but get my point?).
Want to go to that big party? Great, do it! Feeling tired and would rather stay in and read a book? Do that! We will never be able to experience every awesome thing that ever happens in the world. It is impossible. Instead, we need to invest our lives in the activities that will truly make us happy and content.
4. Finding The Right Major
The first two years of my college career I spent every waking moment stressing about my major. I scheduled advising appointments with over a dozen different programs, hoping that the next advisor would welcome me into their office with a choir of singing angels and an instant realization that that program was where I was suppose to be. In lieu of such an ensemble I sacrificed many nights of restful sleep in devout servitude to my degree obsession.
I didn’t have to though. Not any number of punches to my pillow, rants to my roommate, or frantic phone calls to my parents assisted my quest to have the perfect major “poofed” right into my head. Part of the purpose of college is discovering what you like to do and who you are. Expecting yourself to have your life planned out when you walk through the front doors is a little ridiculous. Let yourself take different classes, join different clubs, and go through the experience that is college. Do more living, less stressing, and you will stumble into what your passions are.
5. Having It All Together
We want to all be the friend who has their life together. We want to be the curve buster who is the life of every crazy party and who leaves only to have mind-blowing sex with the love of their life in some hotel room we most certainly cannot afford. We don’t want to be the one who is throwing up in a community bathroom at three am after drinking too many tequila sunrises because we failed a test and Grindr boy is an asshole. But it’s okay. College isn’t about having it all together, heck; life isn’t even about having it all together. It is about learning how to take life one day, and one step at a time to discover who you truly are.