I don’t love college and that’s just fine. Thousands of high school graduates flood into universities with hopes of attaining three things: fun, friends and a degree. Many come to college assuming that it will hold the best years of their lives. But what if this isn’t the case?
This is the problem for students like myself. I decided to attend a university (nine hours away from home, might I add) in order to get a degree from one of the best journalism programs in the nation at the University of Georgia. Notions of parties, sorority bonding, thrilling football games and lasting friendships danced in the back of my mind. I assumed that I would love every aspect of the collegiate culture, but this assumption was naïve. College isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
In the beginning, bar hopping and drinking too much alcohol was entertaining. I loved dressing up for a night out, throwing down my signature tequila shot with lime and dancing the night away. I had my favorite bars I visited with a large group of “friends,” whom I can’t remember the names of now (and probably vice versa). I grew weary of the party scene. I’d trek home early in the night, hurl myself into bed, watch a movie or two and heat up a hot pocket. This appears monotonous, yet I was doing what I wanted to do. The deafening music, sticky floors, the pseudo-drunk people groping one another—this wasn’t for me.
I’d much rather drink a bottle of good wine with a small group of genuine friends, rather than stumble downtown only to end up intoxicated in Little Italy at 2:30 am. This realization didn’t come quickly. Conversations with friends about the infamous party culture of college campuses in the media led me to believe that if I didn’t enjoy this form of amusement, I was dull and spiritless.
What about Greek life? Before I had even started my college career, I partially went through rush. Comically enough, I hadn’t grasped the concept of rush; I didn’t know what a Gamma Chi or recommendation was, nor how the recruitment system went. I thought as long as I presented myself as a person of merit and good nature, I’d fit right in. I’d come out of high school with a 3.9 GPA, V.P. of the student body and was a part of every club, team or honor society possible. I was at UGA on scholarship. From what I gathered participating in rush, it was all about whom I knew, what I wore and how well I could flirt with a group of random but bubbly women.
Greek life wasn’t for me, but others led me to believe that if I didn’t enjoy it, I was odd, cynical or simply wrong. After rush was over, I sought out to accumulate a substantial number of friends. I expected most people to be sincere, kind-hearted and open-minded individuals. The people I encountered were a world different from those I’d met before venturing to college. These factors, and my overall dislike of football games, fermented a depressed outlook on my college career. I even applied to study abroad (as I write this from Argentina) in order to escape Athens. My time in Argentina has allowed me to reflect over these occurrences and the unsatisfactory feelings I’ve had surrounding my freshman year.
What’s the point of all of my inward-looking blabbing, you ask? The standard college experience is not for everyone, but you can tailor your experience toward your likings. Involving myself in organizations relating to my professional interests made college easier. Writing for The Red & Black at UGA opened my eyes to local artists and I get to review music. Di Gamma Kappa, UGA’s broadcasting society, enabled me to meet countless professionals in the field of journalism and learn from them.
Joining a mass communication community brought me together with some of the closest and greatest friends I have met. You might have an idea of what college is supposed to be, or feel that you’re the odd one out for not socially thriving in its environment. Let these feelings go. As a good friend of mine once said, “Some say that these years will have been the best of our lives; I sincerely hope that is not the case.”