College has a different meaning for each of us. Some see college as the gateway to adulthood and independence, while others claim that it’s just a stepping-stone into their future. Either way, college is the first time in which the majority of us are on our own, making decisions solely for ourselves. This is also the last time in most of our lives where we will have the chance to live solely for ourselves without much getting in our way. College is the only time in our lives centered around what we want, what we love, and what we choose to do. We can put ourselves first and live whatever life we wish to. It’s a time to be selfish, just for a little while.
This does not mean that we should have zero compassion for others, but we are allowed the chance to put ourselves first and realize just how important our own goals truly are. If we want to spend our time driving across the country with just a map and some old CDs, we can. If we want to spend our time throwing ourselves into our work and our future careers every day and night, we have the chance to. If we want to go out every weekend and meet new people with no plans of remembering them the next day, we will.
For four years, we are given the chance to find ourselves among thousands of peers trying to do the same. We pay crazy prices for tuition to study a subject we find fascinating, with the end goal of using it everyday for the next 50 years. During this time, we should be focusing on how this education will better our future lives and careers, and we have the right to.
College students are too often captivated by friends and significant others, forgetting that this is their time. We need to stop and think about what we want. We are the only ones who are guaranteed to still be around for years to come, so we better find a life we like for ourselves before we attempt to welcome people into it.
Nothing is guaranteed, especially after we walk across that stage at graduation.
After college, we could be thrown into a first crazy job with hours that last into the night, maybe even in a town we have never heard of or never planned to be living in. For the rest of our lives, beginning the moment we leave our college for the last time, we will have to answer to other people and even put them and their goals first.
After college, we’ll have to begin thinking about the real world, and we’ll have worries such as what time our children finish soccer practice or what our husband wants for dinner or what time our boss needs those files on his desk.
At no other point in our lives will we be able to live solely to better ourselves and to reach our dreams. Later on, life will throw in family, work, money, chores, and countless unpredictable circumstances…but college is our time, and it is so important to soak up every moment of it for ourselves.
I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime; I’m attending my dream college, to clinch my dream job, and simply live out my dream life. I plan on taking advantage of every piece of these next four years. I plan on living for myself while I still can. I hope that you join me.
Featured Image via College Weekly.