You Aren’t A Real College Student Until You Realize These 5 Things

woman in college
Unsplash / Juan Ramos

1. Life is messy.

Almost everything about university is a bit messy. The nights out, your dorm room, your first apartment, your bank account, your relationships with family and friends, it’s all a little bit out of order.

You will regularly be trying to figure things out. You won’t always have your classes in order and you could always be studying more but the chaos makes it so memorable, and you are always broke.

It is socially acceptable to have no idea what you’re doing. University lets you realize, in a campus setting, surrounded by thousands of others thinking very similarly, that life isn’t wrapped up in a bow and given to you when you cross the stage.

Getting to that stage is a mess. There are tears, fights, love, heartbreak, friendships, pain, tragedy, drama and everything in-between. It’s as a messy as it gets, and that makes it some of the best years of your life. Above all, we learn that just when you figure all that mess out, it all changes.

2. Everyone has a story.

Every person you meet has a story. Everyone has insecurities. Everyone is worried about something. Everyone has a passion.

In university you get to see them all on display because it is probably the first time people feel like they can be themselves.

It’s amazing really, so many people in one spot who are all past the hormonal years of high school and are starting to form their concrete ideas and belief systems.

Young adults challenging the beliefs that they grew up in, or solidifying them. So many people who are at the age of shaping their life, all in one spot working together.

I encourage you to get to know people, and hear their stories and when push comes to shove, be kind. Always be kind.

3. Friends are your lifeline.

When its 3 AM and you want to watch a movie, who do you call? When it’s the middle of the day and you’re about to have a breakdown, who do you message on Facebook? When its Tuesday night at 10 PM and you run home from the library because the campus bar has throwback nights and you promised your friends you would be there, who do you call to say you’re on your way?

What I am getting at is that your friends are everything. That core group of people you lean on are the ones you call to watch movies, but they are also the ones you cry with and the ones you do irresponsible things on Tuesday night with. 

Those group chats and songs that you associate with your closest friends matter more than anything. Think about your group of friends and then think about that last time you went a day without seeing one of them when you are at school.

College teaches you that friends matter more than anything, the people you meet and those bonds you form are what push you through. I guarantee you your best moments in university won’t happen in the classroom or doing research.

Enjoy the little things, like cheap sangria on Wednesday night. Enjoy someone bringing you a bagel to the library, because they know you’re 2 pages into a 10-page paper due tomorrow morning. Enjoy that they don’t judge you for it. Those people and things matter more than any grade ever will.

4. There is a good chance at some point, all your plans will change.

You don’t need to have a plan but if you do, I can guarantee at some point you will either doubt yourself or completely change what you want to do.

It might be in first year when you realize there is no way you are going to pass calculus, and your dreams of being a doctor are squashed. Maybe it is when you find your passion and work up the nerve to follow it in your 4th year.

Who knows when it will be, but things will change. At the end of your time at any particular school you will hopefully get a degree and the classes will add up to some sort of minor or major, but how you get there is up in the air.

This is normal, things will always change, it’s one of the only things we can be sure of, you learn that very quickly in university. There are many things you can control, but some things just happen.

5. The world is a really good place.

In university, there are so many people routing for you. You don’t even know it, but there are alumni all over the world who will retweet your school’s graduation post, and people will smile at you on the street when you are wearing your school’s colors.

You have a whole administration facility, mental health office, doctors office, athletic offices, trying, desperately, whether you believe it or not, to help you get to that graduation stage.

You learn, very quickly, that there are so many good people in this world, so many people who believe in good things. So many who want you to reach your goals. You learn that everyone reaches those goals in a different way, but to be a university student is a blessing.

I am a 4th year university student in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and every day I see  people hold doors for others, help each other out with printers, point people in the right direction, let people who are in a hurry cut them in line, support small bake sales for good causes, give money that they don’t have to causes they don’t even know about.

To me, that’s inspiring. It is nice to know that people care, and it is nice to know that someone is in my corner. The world is a bit of a mess, but there are so many more good people than bad and that is comforting. TC mark

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