That’s how long a college student has endured the endless onslaught of papers, study sessions, adviser meetings, preparing presentations and every other task that makes them question their sanity over a four year span. And that's if you graduate on time. For others it's longer.
My lucky number will be 189,216,000— six years. My college story started in 2013 when I started taking classes at Tri-C in Cleveland. From the ripe age of 15, I started conditioning myself to the stacks of college bookstores, the process of scheduling classes and of course, trying to find the time to do anything that wasn’t school-related. At this point, I do most of this on auto-pilot. Any upperclassman knows what I’m talking about.
The phrase “college life” is redundant. This is our life. And it has been for far too long. A life where the proportion of classes we enjoy to the classes we absolutely dread is way out of whack. A life where you weigh the cost of sleep against the course work you aren’t sure will prepare you for the life ahead.
Then comes the second guessing. Did I pick the right major? What if I don’t find a job that I love right away? How will I pay these loans back? Was any of this worth it?
As a senior in my last month at this university, I feel as though I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. The gruel of school is largely behind me while the anxiety of post-graduate life is a ticking time bomb. However, I am not afraid of what is to come after school. In fact, I plan on embracing it with open arms. So should you. Doing otherwise would be a disservice to everything we have worked toward so far.
Take a step back and picture this: Over a four year span, we are to complete tasks that are at the highest level of academic expectations that will make or break our plans for the future if we either don’t like it or fail. And we do it for free. Actually scratch that, we actually pay between $11,000 to $23,000 a year. Lucky us.
And that's not taking into consideration the part-time jobs we have to secure to make this all work. It's a pretty crummy situation from the outside looking in. But when did anything great come out of tasks that were easy? Sure, lots of good things can be done easily. Did you use cheat codes to beat the video game you’re playing? Good, I bet that was fun. Or, did you spend hours upon hours grinding away until you beat the final stage after an all nighter? Felt pretty great, didn’t it?
Don’t sell yourself short. There’s a reason why you’ve made it this far and have put up with feeling like a robot who may or may not have a couple loose screws. See the woes and strife of college as a refinement of your best qualities. You’ve taken the frying pan with stride and once you're out of that, the fire won’t know what hit it. Plus, after you graduate, you will have the opportunity to get paid for the work that drives you nuts so there’s progress right out of the gate.
I remember waking up during my second year at Kent State and preparing to go to my first class of the day. While putting my notebook in my bag, I paused and thought, “I’ve been doing this since I was five years old. Going to school. Sitting in class. Paying attention. Taking notes. Worrying about tests. This has gotten old and I’m numb.”
This was the only moment that I ever seriously questioned dropping out. People do it for plenty of reasons, all legitimate in my eyes. College is not for everyone but was it right for me? I decided to go to class and now I write to you with only 3,024,000 seconds, or 35 days left of school.
Know that you’ve come a long way and that you still have so much further to go. Don’t worry, you’ll be good. Actually, scratch that, you’ll be great.
Contact Jarett Theberge at email@example.com.