By Nivetha Kannan
The title probably sounds strange but it’s the truth. You don’t actually need to love your college to have a college life. My name is Nivetha and I’m currently a Junior in Carnegie Mellon University working towards a BA in fine arts. Now, when I say “you don’t need to love your college,” I mean that you don’t need to love everything you think you should love about it. Take dorms for example – many of you may be expecting a wonderful dorm-life experience filled with close floor-mates and a roommate who becomes your best friend. I’ll say that my freshmen year dorm experience was actually quite different – I did not actually become very close at all with my roommate mostly due to our practically inversed schedules. My floor mates were very kind but I found that dorm-life truly depressed me. I am an introverted person by nature so it’s important for me to have some alone time to myself. However, considering how tiny my dorm room was and how loud the frat next door was, I could not enjoy personal time in my dorm. Even more than dorm life, I began hating the campus itself. I lived on campus, studied on campus, and attended classes on campus. My whole life had become this campus and all I saw every single day was the campus. I’m just not a person who can be satisfied with one piece of scenery. At this point in my freshmen year, I was disappointed. Dorm life and college life weren’t terrible per say, but it was definitely not what I had expected. I expected to love my dorm life but I found that it was just irksome. I expected to love my campus but it ended up being a cage. I even expected to gain the ‘freshmen fifteen’ but I lost a lot of weight because of how much I hated the food on the meal plans and how much I missed being home. At the end of my freshmen year, I knew that the conventional ‘college life’ was not for me.
After that year, I moved off-campus and got my own apartment with one other roommate. I live close to a park, which gives me the essential scenery I need. I’m experiencing college in a whole knew way – my way. I take pleasure in the walks home from class when I can casually browse the various bakeries and grab myself some scones when I want to. I’m also more appreciative of my campus now that it doesn’t feel like a cage to me and my social life is better than ever now that I have the essential privacy I need to reenergize at the end of the day. It also helps me connect to the city I now live in more – I’m more inclined to go out and attend events that are not on campus.
Anyway, my advice here is that it’s okay to be dissatisfied with college life when you first get to your campus. But make sure you are open to creating your own college life experience and make sure to be open to new changes and risks. I certainly never imagined I would be living of-campus at my sophomore year but it turned out to be the best choice for me.