During my junior year of high school the itch for college had begun. I was tired of high school drama, classes filled with what seemed more like busy-work than learning, and was dying for more independence. I remember my mom telling me, in an attempt to encourage me to press on, that I was “born for college.” She was more right than she knew. For over a decade now, I have made college my life–from living it out, to studying the college experience in grad school, and working on multiple college campuses. I love the college experience, how it encourages, challenges and grows you, leads you to a path you never dreamt for yourself or perhaps prepares you for one you have hoped for all along.
You’ve probably heard it a dozen times, “College is the best four years of your life.”
Well, I’m here to tell you, I hope it’s not the best four years of your life. To think that by age 22 you’ve lived the best season you’ll ever live…well that’s just depressing to me. So, I’m going to hope for the both of us that it’s not the end to life’s greatness. But more importantly, I think that expectation sets us up for unexpected struggles. While I will say that it is an incredible four (sometimes five) year ride, full of new experiences, relationships and knowledge, a lot of that “newness” comes in the form of really challenging and difficult situations.
I’m sure you’ve experienced change and times of transitions before.
Maybe you’ve moved once or several times while growing up. Maybe you’ve experienced a change in your family situation–divorce, a grandparent moving in, siblings moving out, death. All kinds of changes happen to us prior to college that we deal with and grow accustomed to. But that’s just it. We don’t choose those changes for the most part; they “happen” to us.
College may be the very first choice you’ve ever made that brings about huge change in your life.
The hard part is that most of us expect that change–the change that we have created–to be all puppies, butterflies, and rainbows. Yet, the truth is that all change brings about a number of challenges. This is why, though you’ve chosen your dream school, you start getting that knot in your stomach as the summer nears. You are suddenly anxious, stressed, fearful of leaving your high school friends. Or maybe it’s that all of a sudden you are fighting with your parents so often, you forgot what it was like to get along. Or some of you whisk off to college without a worry in the world, but two weeks into your first semester, you’re so homesick you’re already thinking about transferring to the school in your hometown. Or maybe you already hate your roommate. Or worse, your roommate was your best friend from high school and now you can’t stand the sight of one another. The list goes on and on.
Now before you start calling me Negative Nancy, hear me out. College really is an amazing time. It will most likely be the four most formative years of your adult life– when you decide who you are, what you believe in, and what you want to do with it all. But each semester, from about your last semester in high school, to your first year out of college, will be marked with challenges and situations you have to decide what to do with and how to transition through. And I want to do it with you. So send me your questions. No topic is off limits–how to choose the “right” college, roommate issues, sorority issues, boy issues, failing statistics class issues, hate my parents issues, drinking issues, whatever. Let’s cover them all. My hope is that you begin to learn how to tackle transitions masterfully and start helping one another in the process.
So what’s in your mind?