My College Experience: College Isn't The "best Experience" Of Your Life

We've always been led to believe that the college years are "the best years of your life" or the "best experience" of your life. We've been conditioned to think that it's in college that we meet our best, life-long friends. Since I have a strong desire to accomplish and achieve in the professional world, naturally I thought college would be the next logical step. My presumptions about the college experience turned out to be false.

I'm a sophomore at a somewhat "competitive" college with about 6000 undergrad students. I've done all the things that college students stereotypically do: pranks, party and drink on weekends, procrastinate, idly "hang out" with friends, sleep in, and all that good stuff. For the most part I've enjoyed classes, get good grades, and gotten to know my professors.

PEOPLE. First, I find many of my peers almost intolerable. I am a rather social person and was looking forward to building some great friendships or maybe even finding someone to marry. Umm... no. The people here are generally immature, cliqueish, self-centered, and dishonest. People don't want to talk about much unless you're in their clique. I've got to be careful because I never know when someone is going to screw me over or if they're really a friend who's got my back. It's hard to carry on an intelligent conversation with someone when most people are only concerned with who got drunk and who's sleeping with who. When I overhear conversations, they usually start along the lines of "ahh dude I got so drunk last night that was such a ballin party." Sure it's kind of funny to see someone hammered drunk doing stupid stuff, but let's be real here... there's more to life than parties and being a slave to alcohol. Parties aren't even enjoyable for me anymore because rather than being an event to meet new people, they are a drinking or hook-up contest. I find it very difficult to connect with about 90% of the people here. Maybe that's why I've become a lot more introverted in the past 4 months... despite all the people that are here, it can be lonely.

LIFESTYLE. Second, the college lifestyle and culture is one of laziness and carelessness. People here think I'm crazy because I spend a good amount of my time working as a volunteer EMT (read: it's hard, I don't get paid, sometimes I go an entire night without finding time to sleep, other times the only time I have to eat is in the ambulance on the way to another call, I rarely hear thank you... and somehow I enjoy it :) ). Thankfully I've met some awesome people at the department, it gives me a reality check, and allows me to have some unique experiences. I've been labeled "anti-social" because I turned down a party invite to go have dinner with a senator and his family on Friday night. Apparently I "focus too much on career" because I've devoted some time and effort to establishing a few professional contacts. I'm "weird" for waking up at 6/7am to go for a run, then get breakfast and then go to bed before 1am. My peers are going to be in for a shock... in the real world the day starts at sunrise. So I feel kind of lost here.

DORM LIFE. Third, dorm life just isn't for me. It can be fun and I've had some great times with friends from my floor during freshman year. Last year my hall-mates and I drenched the entire hall floor an inch deep in water after throwing buckets of water at each other. But is it too much to ask for people to clean up after themselves and to exercise some common courtesy? Now I'm not one of those clean freaks or someone who wants to eat with a silver spoon for every meal -- when I lived in Alaska I slept outside for 4 days in -30F in a shelter built out of snow and sticks without a problem -- but I like the place where I live and sleep to be somewhat presentable. I have things to accomplish and don't exactly want to hear my suitemate tell me why we don't need to clean the bathroom just because we're guys (haha).

DATING SCENE. Maybe I'm a religious nutjob, but I'm no longer interested in random hook-ups. Last week a girl I had only known for a few days wouldn't talk to me any more. Why? According to her best friend it was because I didn't try to sleep with her when we were "studying" in her room. I've had my share of girlfriends but I've kind of given up on dating girls at my college--time to look elsewhere. Another thing... when people here find a gf/bf that's the only person they hang out with.

I see college as a time to prepare myself for the real world, both personally and professionally. It's dumb to wait until graduation to grow up--I think that by age 20 is a good time to say goodbye to being childish. Now I just have to figure out how to keep working hard and graduate, but that's kind of hard when you're in an environment that encourages me to be a dumbass.

Maybe college culture today is bad? Maybe it's just my college?
Maybe my standards are too high?

Is anyone else in college having a similar experience or is it just me? Comments?
deleted deleted
26-30
6 Responses Feb 16, 2010

I totally agree with almost everything you said. I went to college expecting a fantasy. The college I go to is about 40,000 undergrads, so pretty large. People truly are slaves to alcohol. Many students here have become almost incapable of attending a social event without drinking or getting high. If they do, it's automatically labeled as "not fun." Maybe we've become a rare kind, but I like to do things and remember them the next day. I also like to wake up the next morning and not feel like a pile of ****. I also agree with you on the part regarding people being artificial. Everyone feels so pressured to fit in that partying becomes the main theme of things, because that's the one universally accepted "college experience." I've given up hope of developing any sort of real relationship with a guy in college because of exactly what you said: college is just one huge hookup party. Everyone wants a random hookup and it's an OUTRAGEOUS idea that you would actually develop any sort of substantial connection with someone. So yeah. I agree.

This sounds incredibly similar to my experience, but differs in that I was so miserable my freshmn year I became very depressed and just sort of stopped participating in anything at all. I had attempted to join many clubs and groups which ended up being defunct, and even got an internship off-campus to no avail. My GPA was a 1.92 by the end of the year, so I took a year off to reassess my situation and attempt to transfer. I was rejected from the one school I applied to, so I'm back here. While it's not as bad, after being here a month all I can think about is going abroad. It's so hard to make friends as everyone seems comfortably set in their groups. I've never had issues making friends anywhere but here. Add on top of that that I go to a women's college attached to a co-ed university, and the grave disproportion of men to women makes both genders act wildly differently than if there was a more even split. Girls here are so desperate that it's sickening, and guys become so cocky that they're unapproachable. All I can do now is focus on the task at hand and devote all of my energy into going to Australia next year.

THIS IS THE STORY OF MY LIFE<br />
& i'm only a freshman. <br />
I'm absolutely sick of partying. it's the same story every weekend, but it seems like that's the only thing you can do here for fun. It's second semester, I'm sick of all the friends I've made, but I'm not sure at all how to make new friends. Especially since it seems like everyones already made their friends and aren't willing to accept new people. <br />
And what you said about having a gf/bf and spending all your time with them... yeah... completely true. <br />
I'm sick of this.

THIS IS THE STORY OF MY LIFE<br />
& i'm only a freshman. <br />
I'm absolutely sick of partying. it's the same story every weekend, but it seems like that's the only thing you can do here for fun. It's second semester, I'm sick of all the friends I've made, but I'm not sure at all how to make new friends. Especially since it seems like everyones already made their friends and aren't willing to accept new people. <br />
And what you said about having a gf/bf and spending all your time with them... yeah... completely true. <br />
I'm sick of this.

I have had the EXACT same experience as you. I looked forward to going to college, and was told it would be the best years of my life, well, I'm still waiting for those years. So far it's been pretty miserable, and I can't say it looks like it is getting any better anytime soon. <br />
It seems like all anyone in college seems to want to do is drink, party, hook-up, and join a frat/sorority.

All these reasons are perfectly legitimate reasons why you are unhappy. Your standards are high, but as they should be. You should be making the best possible time for yourself, but the environment you are in does not afford you this chance. Have you considered transferring? <br />
<br />
I am an incredibly active person as well. I am always awake early and my peers criticize me for it, saying that they would never want to be roommates with "someone like me." I have a few decent friends, but nobody worth staying here for. Today I sat at breakfast with some of my older friends and they were talking about how difficult it will be to go abroad because they will miss their friends so much. I can't wait to go abroad because I just want to leave here.