Photo courtesy of WCPO | Head Photo Editor Sydney Sanders argues that every college experience is a “real college experience.”
Before committing to Xavier, I remember asking myself, “Do you really want to go to a school that small?” Being from Cincinnati, whenever I would tell someone that I was going to Xavier, the typical response was something along the lines of, “That’s great, you’ll be so close to home” or something about basketball. I was constantly questioning if I was going to be missing out on the “college experience” because I wasn’t moving hours away or because there weren’t more than 40,000 students attending Xavier. Sometimes, even today, I find myself wondering, am I getting the real college experience?
The answer is yes. I am getting a real college experience, but so is everyone that goes to college because there is no such thing as one kind of “college experience.” Just because we may not have football tailgates or frat parties every weekend, Xavier is just as much of a college as any other school. There is no such thing as the “college experience” because everyone who attends any university is going to experience something different, and your experiences are just as valid as someone at a “typical” American college.
Social media and various media outlets have completely distorted the image of college today. There tends to be a preconceived notion that college kids are drunk or high all day every day and prioritize partying over anything else. Chances are, you probably have encountered someone that fits the stereotypical college kid, or you may even be that person, but there is more to college than drinking. Standards of what makes a normal college kid are based on extreme cases because special circumstances are more memorable than average ones. Society has begun to normalize jumping off of a roof at a darty today because people say “ah, typical college kid” to rationalize a stupid drunken act as if it’s just part of the college experience.
Something that is often forgotten is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to stay in on a Friday night and watch a movie or catch up on sleep. Something I’ve noticed since coming to school here is that when someone asks about your weekend and you reply with something seemingly boring, the typical response is them trying to make you feel better about your situation, as if you were embarrassed or unhappy about it. The general college population tends to equate sadness with lack of partying, which is completely false. Reality is, not everyone wants to go out, and it doesn’t make them any less of a college student than someone living like the typical movie portrayal of a college experience.
People also have a tendency to minimize the hours of homework that students have or the commitments they make to extracurricular activities. College kids have gained a reputation in more recent years as wild and reckless, but that’s not fair to a large population of students. I wish that there was more of an appreciation today for the hard work that students put into their studies and that being a college kid doesn’t make me irresponsible or narrow-mindedly concerned with alcohol and drugs.
That being said, I am not here to pass judgement on anyone that likes to have a good time. Within reason, going out and doing whatever makes you genuinely happy is what you should be doing. The thing I don’t think you should be doing, however, is trying to conform to a societal norm of “college kids” just because you feel pressured to do so. The “college experience” is overrated, so don’t stress yourself out and feel as though you need to go to every party to really make the most of your time here.
Sydney Sanders is a sophomore PPP major and head photo editor for the Newswire from Cincinnati