How To Have A College Experience With No Regrets:
If you’re starting your freshman year of college you’ve probably heard at least one person tell you that the next four years are going to be “the best years of your life.” In many ways this is true. For most of us there will never be another time in our lives when we are surrounded so closely by friends, can choose from a multitude of non-stop social opportunities and have no real responsibilities other than going to class and completing assignments. What could be better?
Unfortunately the following description of one individual’s college experience tells a different story.
My Memories of College:
- Social anxiety fueled by the perceived pressure to live up to the college stereotype of partying all the time
- Lots of acquaintances, no real friends
- Meaningless drunken one-night stands leading to complete emotional sterility
- Chronic procrastination, all-nighters, constant stress and pressure to get good grades
- Severe sleep deprivation, caffeine addiction, poor nutrition, binge drinking ending in vomiting more often than not
- The above factors resulting in feeling like crap 24/7, eventually leading to a diagnosis of clinical depression
- Disillusionment with life in general after learning the hard way all the lessons people try to teach you in high school but you don’t listen because you’re a naive rebellious teenager
At Life’s Choices we hear similar stories, ones filled with regret and dissatisfaction. The following statement was made by a 22 year old male student and is one we hear repeatedly from both men and women. His reflection as a senior: “I’m tired of the college lifestyle. I want something more. Partying and sex feels good in the moment but the next day I feel bad. I’m ready for a relationship that’s real.”
For many, their regrets aren’t limited to a bad feeling. Their college experience includes the unwanted bonus of an STD, some of which cannot be cured and tag along as an uninvited guest into any future relationship.
- According to Stanford University’s Sexual Health Resource Center, one in four college students are infected with a Sexually Transmitted Infection.
- Many don’t know they’re infected because STIs often have no symptoms.
- Undiagnosed STIs cause 24,000 women to become infertile each year.
- Genital Herpes infects 1 in 5 college aged students in the United States. Herpes outbreaks can be treated but cannot be cured.
This does NOT need to be your experience! Here’s how to avoid regrets and make your college years some of the best years of your life:
- Go deeper in your relationships. Friendships are being formed that can last a lifetime, whether it’s finding your soulmate or a great friend group. This doesn’t happen through getting drunk or hooking up. It comes through meaningful conversations, participating in shared interests and activities, and in being there for one another through emotional ups and downs.
- The college years are a unique time of self-discovery where you are developing your own values and becoming an independent thinker. Peer pressure and following the crowd is so high school. You’re an adult now. Think for yourself and seek out others with similar values.
- These years are also a time to discover your gifts and pursue your career interests. Focusing on developing your strengths and interests will pay off in greater life satisfaction in the years to come. Take advantage of every opportunity to work towards finding your life’s calling. Doing what you were meant to do and doing it well is extremely satisfying.
- Finally, this may be the last time in your life you can go to the dining room and be fed three meals a day without having to grocery shop, cook or clean up after yourself. Okay, it’s cafeteria food but hey, it’s better than cold cereal and PB&J. Enjoy it!
Welcome back to school! I hope this is one of the best years of your life so far. But I also hope your friendships and life experiences keep getting better and better as you live life with no regrets.