The exams, parties, and relationships that you are bound to encounter in college are just another reason for you to keep this mantra at the forefront of your mind: it’s your life.
I watched some friends struggle during my time in the engineering program, but they didn’t want to leave, because they were determined to be engineers. It was the industry that attracted them, and that was that. I was glad to see this type of attitude rampant in a major where the curriculum is anything but easy. However, there were also people in my class that excelled in everything they did academically but were constantly debating whether or not it was a degree they actually wanted to invest in. For me, it was a combination of both: I loved engineering, but I wasn’t good at it.
This is only one example of a lot of the stuff that students contemplate while they are in college. Finally a chance to be who they want to be, without being limited by curfews, location, or age, and they find that they actually don’t know who they are or who they want to be. Thus, college has become the prime domain for experimenting in order to do exactly whatever it is that you need, or want, to do to discover yourself.
Academics are just one piece of the pie. Relationships will take up another portion of any girl’s college experience, so don’t be surprised when you are in a casual relationship and then realize that getting that guy (or girl) to commit may be more complicated than it was in high school. Or that being in a serious relationship no longer just means being exclusive; it now means spending multiple nights with your significant other, taking vacations together, getting drunk at bars together, and at times, perhaps even sharing clothes or family holidays instead of just a milkshake on a date! The many dimensions of relationships in college can be exciting but also devastating, so just remember that regardless of the situation, you should do what you want and that it’s not the end of the world.
Trying to settle on a major or a guy can be tough, but other new, life problems will find you now that you are in a new type of world. What do you want to do during the summer? What do you want to do as a career? What do you want to do for money on the side? Are you ready to be engaged to someone even if you’re in grad school, or will the distraction/possibility of kids get in the way of your studies? How will you go about purchasing a new car when the time comes? What steps do you want to take in molding your stance in the eyes of creditors?
I cannot summarize the complexity of it all (or the simplicity, depending on what type of person you are), but looking at it from an extreme, I do know two things.
• If I want to quit school, I can.
• As long as my decisions are made with me in mind, then I’m going to be okay.