The day to day seems mundane, but I’ve tried to capture a few more energetic moments. The hustle in between classes on an enormous campus, paired with a beautiful sunset that gave shadows to a building. Although these moments, in the grand scheme of things, have almost no significance, I feel like by capturing them I’ve given them some significance.
A large part of my day to day life is feeling a mix of guilt and stress.
Guilt over the fact that my parents help me pay for college, and stress over debt, grades, expectations, etc.
College is so full of expectations, it seems that older generations do not necessarily give enough credit to this.
(Warning, here is a long text post!)
First, we’re supposed to decide on majors. These majors, in theory, will affect the rest of our lives. Science says this isn’t really the greatest idea. The human brain doesn’t even fully develop until around the age of 25, and by then I should be graduated and heading into graduate school! Apparently, though, I should be deciding on my major now. Now, dammit! You have to decide what you want to do with your life now, otherwise you’ll be social pariah who didn’t go to college and make rash decisions like the rest of us!
Second, we’re saddling thousands of dollars in debt! Even with scholarships, it’s almost impossible to afford college. Now, I made the decision (mistake?) to attend a private school in Switzerland for the first two years of my college career. I learned a lot of things, both about myself and about what I want to do, but was it worth $30,000 of personal debt? I’m not sure yet, but I have to hope so. I don’t really have a choice. Schools have more and more applicants, with more and more scholarships- usually what a university does is thin out the dollar amount of the scholarships and work study to provide more scholarships and work study. Yes, I’m getting scholarships! Woo! In a metaphor, though, I’m getting a crumb of what used to be a pie. It’s a drop in the Mariana Trench-deep of buckets. Student loans right now total upwards of $500 BILLION dollars. Here, let’s type out those zeros. 50,000,000,000.00…phew. I’m a member of one of the largest debt-holding groups after home owners! WOO! (Oh, wait…that’s a bad thing).
Third, college students have expectations that we’ll goof off, and still manage to be alright. Most people have this idea that the average college student engages in partying behavior, hooking up, and is generally being super social, right? Because, dude, right now is, like, totally the time to do that, right? False. Honestly, as an introvert, I can’t handle your social expectations. Lo siento, mi dispiache, my apologies, but you can’t expect me to keep good grades, my sanity, and a social life, all while sleeping.
Fourth, we’ve got real-world concerns. Will I get a job? Will I get into grad school? Will I be able to pay off my loans without defaulting, ruining my credit score, and essentially becoming a street urchin who can’t buy a car/house/anything? Will I disappoint my parents? Am I eating healthy enough? Where am I going to live next year?
Fifth, we’ve got young-people concerns. Did I fail my Spanish exam? Does that hot guy from the coffee place like me? Do I have food in my teeth? Am I skinny enough? Did I go to the gym enough this week? Does my roommate think I’m strange? Did that really weird girl in the hall clean her hair out of the drain in the bathroom? Do I have enough printing credit for this assignment? Do I want to go to that party? Did I wash my sheets?
College students now (and in the past), do not have it so easy. Alright, so I’m not paying rent, I don’t have to commute, and I don’t pay for cable, but I do have a whole legitimate list of concerns and worries. Sometimes, the future is scary. Sometimes, the now is scary.
Speaking of the now, I’ve got some Latina feminist reading to do. Adios!
So true! I feel the burden getting heavier by the day…I always imagined that stuff was SO. FAR. AWAY. but truly, I have two years of “free” school left and then college! In reality though, I only have one year left, because I have to have what I’m going to do all figured out BEFORE senior year…then comes college and I have to pick a major and a career! and all the stuff you mentioned above!! A very relate-able post, thank you!