Hi all. I am a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois and I have absolutely no regrets about my spontaneous college career. I started at Florida Gulf Coast University my freshmen and sophomore year, quite close to my hometown. I decided, one summer, to enroll in courses in Chicago. (Just because I wanted change and break from my bubble). So, I picked DePaul University because it offered a plethora of my interests. I fell in love with the city and made a last minute decision (literally a month before school began) to move to Chicago and finish my college career at DePaul University. I never would have thought about transferring colleges – but one thing I learned out of this. You never know what will happen in your college career. Honestly. The less you plan, the better the outcome. No regrets.
How did I become so happy in my college career? I followed my gut and took one day at a time. I dismissed those petty pressures many college freshmen face. And I listened to my heart.
People would judge me. They would say: “Why would you move to Chicago at major in Journalism? That’s a declining field. You’ll never get anywhere in life. Oh you’re studying Graphic Design? Why don’t you go into computer science? There are more jobs in that field.” Even one of my male friends put me down because I was not a nursing major like my other girl friends.
Forget about it. Do what you love and stop taking life so seriously. It took me a while to stop allowing what others told me get to me. Because you know what? In the end, it’s your life and your choices. You do what you’re going to enjoy.
Don’t get me wrong. Heck, I still struggle with comparing myself to others and allowing my “friends” to influence my choices. But what I have learned in all of this is what pressures I avoided my college career that allowed me to get where I am today.
Without further ado, I present to you some struggles I overcame and pressures in college that you too, can avoid, allowing you to move ahead.
Pressures to Avoid in College
- What you are majoring in: I have faced the dilemma of majoring in Journalism and minoring in graphic design. I receive more snide remarks than positive ones when I tell people my major. My most common one is: “Oh, isn’t print going out of business?” Duh. In fact, there are more jobs than ever in journalism with online and multimedia. I have landed two internships thus far, one for a digital magazine. Just because I am majoring in journalism does not mean I have signed my life away to write for a traditional newspaper. On another note: Whatever you take away from college is a life skill: Journalism is a great major for communicating with others, building confidence, and gaining an edge. Whether you are majoring in English, botany, or art – you are learning something valuable that will get you to the next step you need to be in life.
- Having a significant other/having sex: Society places way too much pressure on the former and the latter. Your time in college involves struggling to make trustworthy friends, keep your grades up, manage your time, find a job, join clubs, maintain a healthy diet and so on and so forth – then you come home for Thanksgiving dinner and your relatives ask you why you do not have a ring on your finger. Or it might seem like everyone at your school is in a relationship and you are on the sidelines. Trust me. It’s not all what it’s cracked up to be. This is the time for you to focus on yourself. Relationships may be great, but you are so young and they can weigh you down. I tried having a few relationships in college and they did not work for me. I felt held back. Seriously, focus on yourself and your grades first – then all should fall into place thereafter. On another note: You may be swayed into the “hookup” culture. You might hear everyone talk about his or her amazing sex lives and wonder why you are missing out on something so amazing. Remember to stick to your values and do what you’re comfortable with. If you allow others pressure you, you will only find out that they were all talk.
- Actions/Not Words: With that being said, you will encounter more times than not, your peers talking themselves up (perhaps about their relationships, parties, careers, whatever) and perhaps one-up you anytime you talk about your accomplishments. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others, or what they may say. From what I have learned, the most valuable people are those who “do” instead of “talk.” One might say, “I’m going to do x,y, and z” but never do it. It is humbling to be that person who goes and volunteers at that hospital without telling the whole world by snapping a photo on Instagram and giving it a filter. If you really want to be respected, talk about what you have already done, not what you are going to do.
- Going to a Party: So you’ve done you’re homework and you don’t have work tomorrow. “So what gives? You’re not coming out with us? Come on, you’re no fun. “ And you end up going to that party and having a lousy drunken time and feeling crummy and hungover the next day. It’s okay if you’re not feeling it that night. Perhaps you need your space. Or maybe it’s not you. It took me dozens of parties before I realized that they weren’t my scene. And it’s totally cool. Hang out by yourself, or go play Yu-Gi-Oh with the gaming club. That’s what college is about. You.
- They don’t like me…is there something wrong with me? Absolutely not. You are going to meet hundreds of people in college and everyone is going to have a different personality. Some people you mesh with, some people you don’t. My first set of college roommates, I was the oddball out. They didn’t understand my sense of humor, nor my taste in music, nor my hobbies. It was cool that they all got along, but they were not my cup of tea. The sooner you branch out and meet as many people as you can, the sooner you will find those like-minded people. By the way, I am a senior in college and have the best roommates I can possibly ask for. They are like my second family. Finding the perfect friends takes patience, but you will find them with a little hope and a little delayed gratification ~