Your best has yet to come

Advice on how to make your four years a launching pad to a happy life

As seniors in college, we are under a lot of pressure. Pressure to graduate, find a job, decide where we want to go, blah blah blah. All the adult stuff we like to pretend we don’t have to deal with. But there is also one major stressor that many overlook.
“College will be the best four years of your life.”

Wow. Talk about pressure. Not only do we have to go in with that expectation, but we also have to take full responsibility for making it happen. And we better start during orientation week when they tell us, “The best years of our lives start now.”

Excuse me while I go find my central friend group in the first week of college and spend the next four years in total unadulterated happiness. On top of that, I will be out having fun every single night, have a million friends I see every day and have unlimited funds for all the fun I will be having. It’s “the best four years of my life,” right?

I remember having a mental breakdown about a month into college. I didn’t have an especially large network of friends (a problem associated with introverted, painfully shy and awkward people like myself), I wasn’t getting straight A’s and I hated the taste of alcohol. This was a great combination for a college freshman. After voicing my concerns to someone I was close to at the time they told me “I was doing it wrong;” which I took pretty seriously.

I hate to admit that I found my niche, brought my anatomy grade up and discovered lemonade was a good mixer before I decided that I certainly wasn’t doing college wrong. It took me even longer to realize I didn’t want college to “be the best years of my life.”

Hollis Conners is a nursing major from Franklin, Ind.
Hollis Conners is a senior nursing major from Franklin, Ind.

Don’t get me wrong. My college experience has been indescribable in the best possible way. I have learned so much about myself, grown as a person and have made friends that are so extraordinary there isn’t a word worthy of expressing it. I just don’t want this to be the end of it all. I don’t want it to be the peak. I don’t want my life to slow down after college. I want it to speed up. I want to keep having fun with friends. I want to keep making friends. I want to go on adventures and take risks and jump off cliffs and walk into the unknown and embrace the uncertainty of life. All those clichés people use.

Going into college with the expectation and plans to make it “the best” will eventually tear you down. You’ll be trying to do all these things all the time with all these people, and it’ll never be enough.

Planning to make college wonderful is so much more attainable. You won’t feel bad watching Netflix instead of socializing one night. You won’t feel angry when you discover you are a disorganized procrastinator. You won’t feel terrible if you bomb one test. You won’t feel lonely when you are by yourself. Nothing will completely tear down the possibility of something being wonderful, as much as something tearing down the possibility of it being the best.
Your college years should be inspiring, fun, incredible and ireplaceable. But not the best. The peak of your life hasn’t happened yet.

I’m also going to leave this here for good measure:
And now, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.
-Albus Dumbledore