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The Truth about the College Experience

Seo-Hyun Jun, Staff Writer

Photo//The Pioneer

After moving to Michigan from a foreign country, one prominent difference I noticed was that every household is a fan of a college institution’s sports team.

From this, students at a young age are exposed to multiple university campuses and sports stadiums, which I believe is inspiring enough to know their dream school early on. As a college student, I cannot help but notice families waiting in long lines on a boiling hot day with shirts and hats with “Go Blue” written on them.

Such beautiful moments and high-teen movies certainly help foreigners dream and wonder about the college experience in the United States. While the stereotype is that every weekend is just for parties, I want to promote that the learning opportunity in college entails so much more to one’s life.

In high school, there are three major concerns that students care about: GPA, extracurricular activities, and whether their team would get into a state competition.

Competitive students tend to take more than five advanced-placement (AP) courses throughout their high school journey while managing to participate in four after-school clubs and two internships. By doing so, students believe that this will later prepare them to excel in college.

Undoubtedly, this is partly true. Early exposure to academic rigor can mentally prepare one to confront the educational transition. However, I learned that college is an ongoing lesson on efficiently balancing life and studies before facing society as an individual adult, not just for academics.

Newly-admitted students such as myself were initially intimidated by these thoughts since I wanted to be more productive than I was in high school. Questions such as “How could one balance all desires in a new and unfamiliar environment?” filled my mind. The welcome week was even more conflicting.

Some family-friends told me that they met their lifelong friends and/or maid-of-honors in college, and another upper classmate told me that the only way to make friends is to always go out.

That is when another question came to my head: “What should be a college student’s priority?”

The only correct answer to all of those questions, as I discovered, is that the “college experience” everyone talks about is the ultimate freedom a teenager gains from their family and the choices they will make to create the foundation of their entire life.

There is a quote that I have heard and will never forget: “The next forty years of your life will depend on the four years you spend now.” Every day is a challenge that is given to us as a way to test our priorities, which I believe is the wisdom gained after the struggles are over.

As they say, the best advice is to hassle that tassel, and along the way, perhaps, one will find their maid-of-honor.

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