Was School The Best Years Of Our Lives, Or Were We Simply More Hopeful Then?

The little two-year-old girl twirls in her dress as she says she wants to be a princess when she grows up. The boy checks her heartbeat and he says he wants to be a doctor, prince, and teacher all in one. When did our dreams get diminished? When did the harsh reality of the world begin to settle in?

Everyone says his or her best years in life were those college days. How they wish they could go back to school. Now that I’m in the midst of these years I begin to question exactly why everyone is nostalgic of his or her school years.

Elementary school. Where you learn that pulling a girl’s hair and throwing sand at her translates to “I like you.”

High school. Where you find out what clique you belong to, get involved in sports, stress over the SATS, college applications, and who you’ll be taking to prom.

College. We move away, drink (for the first time, of course), get involved with Greek life, stay up late, and become best friends with that drink that supposedly gives you wings. 

But is that really why were so nostalgic for those years? Would it be perhaps that we are hopeful at a young age? That we are unaware of the journey ahead of us and believe that the future is promising?

It’s my second year in college and quite frankly, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. 

I know three things: I want to marry, have kids, and be successful.

I just don’t know how that’s going to happen yet.

To me, success is doing something you love, day in and day out (and of course, make money.)

What’s stopping me? I don’t know what I love. I find myself marveling over my fellow classmates who know exactly what they want to do, where they want to be in 5, 10 years from now. I find myself admiring them, while a bit envious, because I wish I was able to map out my life, get jobs and internships that would build my resume and get me closer to my final destination.

Someone once told me once he fulfills his goal he moves on to the next goal. I guess there is not one final destination, per say, I just wish I had at least one destination I could focus on.

People ask me all the time, “What do you want to do when you graduate?” “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” My answer? I don’t know. Sometimes I get the “oh, don’t worry you have time,” and if I’m lucky I get “oh, don’t worry I had no idea I’d be where I am today.”

My question to those who respond with the latter: are you happy with where you are?

I’ve seen it too often — people settle, and I wonder if they see themselves as a success, per whatever definition they deem that to be.

We settle for the jobs we are given, because we need them. Are we happy? Who’s to say?

Our college years are hopeful — we intern here and there, hoping one job trump the others. We get involved with a majority of different organizations, hoping we find our calling. While many do, some don’t.

Or are our school years the best years because we party all night and have the freedom to do whatever we want or are those the best years because there it still a gap of time before it gets real? Essentially before we realize the time to ‘hope’ is over.

I’ve had my fair share of internships and a few jobs, but none of them have truly struck me, and I’m sure I’ not the only one.

I hope I find my path before I begin calling my school years — back when I had some sort of hope that, in the future, I would have a job that I loved — the best days of my life. I hope I’m not only nostalgic for the times I partied all night, and went to my 8 am class in distress the next morning. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

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