Why I (Don’t) Love College

I’m trapped.

As a person with anxiety, one of my biggest fears is being trapped, being stuck somewhere with no foreseeable way out. What I never realized is it’s even worse to be trapped with a way out totally in sight, but no way to get to it other than to wait. This purgatory is called your last semester of college.

When I was in high school, all I wanted to do was work. I spent most of my senior year in the choir, band or journalism rooms, getting hall passes from benevolent teachers who could see that I could still get my work done even when not being in class. I wrote for a local newspaper and had about 2,000 extracurriculars which were the only reasons I went to school in the first place. I was hopelessly, terribly bored and everyone knew it.

I got into college no problem, and when I got accepted I was elated, figuring it was my next step into the real world. My mom hated when I said this, afraid that I was wishing my life away, but couldn’t she see that this wasn’t life at all? Or not the one I was interested in living anyway.

So, the summer passed, I moved into college and life still hadn’t moved any forward. I still went to school, went to classes that I was sick of after a week or so and still didn’t feel excited or challenged at all. It wasn’t until I started into my endless extracurriculars again that I began to feel like I was doing anything at all.

However, once I started doing internships and outside work, something weird happened—I was excited again. I loved writing again, I got excited to do work because in this context, it had real effects. I was working in the “real” world and what I was doing affected a real company. It didn’t bore me, I worked really hard and I loved every second.

I think it shocked everyone around me that I wasn’t lazy, I was just bored. I had been saying to everyone since day one that all I wanted to do was work, and I don’t think anyone took what I said to heart.

Since realizing that classes were the problem, it has only gotten more frustrating. I see college as this business transaction, I put some coins into the machine and eventually it will spit out a degree—for me that happens to be coming a semester early because as you can tell, I want out.

When I tell people I’m ready to leave college, they usually go from a mix of thinking I must be joking to getting offended. They think this means I hate my specific college, that I hate my friends, that I want to leave them all behind. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I love my school, I love my friends and of course I’m going to be totally gutted to leave them. I find myself having little out of body experiences sometimes on Saturday nights when the weather is cool, the leaves are crunchy and my friends are laughing beside me and it kills me that I won’t be here in a few months.

But, I have to say that if I were here for another semester, no one would want me to be. I would be an endless ball of anxiety, bouncing around trying to find a way the hell out of this place. If I had to sit in another lecture or do another group project, no matter how interesting or enlightening, I might scream.

I know lots of people feel this way. The way that Western society is set up basically requires a college degree for entry level jobs and people who don’t want to go to college are seen as a failure. Those of us who feel like we have to go to college are left anxious, in massive amounts of debt and frustrated with finding a job.

Lots of people have an amazing college experience, I would include myself in that. But, lots of people also love to sit through classes or can at least stomach it. They view college as endowing them with this abounding knowledge. I would credit my peers, my mentors and my internships for what I know now. I credit my classes with my having a disdain for white liberals who quote John Lennon and the smell of chalk.

College, to me, is about laying dormant, waiting for my life to start. Maybe it’s silly, but if the past 15 years of schooling have been preparing me for this life that’s just about to start—why wouldn’t anyone want to start that as soon as possible? I’ll take my college friends, our memories and crumpled polaroids with me, but soon I’ll never have to turn in a tear-stained term paper again.

Praise Yeezus.

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