Wednesday, May 25, 2011

College Days/Daze

They are called "the good old days". For most of us, those 4 years of college are our first taste of independence and freedom. It's our first step out of the nest into the world. But it isn't the real world. It's an in between place. You are too old to still live at home and too young to be out in the real world. You are just becoming the person you are destined to be. You are discovering your voice and path in life. In a lot of ways, they are the good old days. You are living on your own but surrounded by friends. You get to set your own schedule. You can stay out all night and try new things, both good and bad. But I remember the stress and fear associated with all that freedom. You are entirely responsible for your self. You have to get yourself to class, study, clean your room, cook for yourself, do laundry and all without a parent nudging you along. You are living in close quarters with lots of people from many backgrounds. So you have to learn to coexist with people who have different attitudes, beliefs and lifestyles. Some students have the added burden of financial pressure. In addition to attending classes and studying, they have to earn money to help pay for college. They are learning the valuable skills of time and money management. All this will serve them well in the future but it all comes at a great price. Get good grades, help pay for college, make friends, take care of yourself. That is a lot to put on 18 and 19 years olds who are used to living under their parents' roofs with the sole responsibility of attending high school and bathing yourself on a semi-regular basis. I loved my college days. But I'm very aware of what a bubble I lived in. I was one of the rare kids didn't have to help pay for my tuition. Even so, I found college fun but very stressful. Going to class when I wanted to sleep in, study when I'd rather be partying and no parent standing over my shoulder laying down the law was a confusing place to find myself. I didn't always make the wisest choices but I learned from my choices and mistakes. Sometimes I feel that I learned more from my mistakes because I had to pay the price. As I get to know our college sitters and listen to their stories, part of me misses my college days. Part of me is glad they are behind me.

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