College: The Ultimate Independence | Teen Ink

College: The Ultimate Independence

November 16, 2019
By eljungbe BRONZE, Scottsdale, Arizona
eljungbe BRONZE, Scottsdale, Arizona
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

College represents the most stressful and memorable segment of a young adult’s life, serving as a learning platform for newly independent students beginning their journey supporting themselves. While college opens new doors, allows individuals to live their lives to the fullest, the question why am I even here consistently lingers within the minds of sleep deprived students. Students can gain perspective and become more self-reflective, taking time to truly understand their ambitions and goals. But who needs THAT? Instead, individuals could stress eat, lie about their slow lives, and continue running through the list of excuses to not go to work. College can be compared to Stephen King novel. The novel begins in anticipation and excitement, similar to beginning college. As the novel progresses and becomes more engaging, students similarly gain confidence as they rack through the endless homework and Starbucks coffees. Then comes the finale or the exam. As in all Stephen King novels, the ending results in a letdown, similar to exam grades sinking the once blooming confidence of the bright-eyed students. However, college allows the opportunity for individual growth and the development.

            Of course, there are tradeoffs. College, advertised as a peaceful getaway full of exciting activities and new possibilities, looks perfect online. But everything can be easily photoshopped. The flawless green grass online at the Arizona State University website doesn’t resemble the grass on campus, covered in dirt and reeking the smell of cow manure. Moreover, the gourmet selection offered in multiple cafeterias seems appealing. In reality, each restaurant only offers hamburgers and pizza. 

Yet the biggest stinker about college will always be the price. While other countries in the world don’t charge nearly as much for the cost of college, American colleges seem to cost an arm and a leg. Hidden fees rest behind every corner, anxiously waiting to pop up on the screens of money-deprived students, furthering compounding the pre-existing misery caused by work-heavy classes. Twenty-six thousand dollars for out-of-state tuition, in addition to thousands and thousands of dollars put towards books, housing and food. I mean like seriously, who even eats four thousand dollars’ worth of food a semester? And on top of that, financial aid trust fees, recreation fees, health and wellness fees, and undergraduate college fees. All these unnecessary fees, sucking the money out of already penniless college students trying to survive on modest minimum wage jobs.

After paying off the first round of fees, eager individuals rush to campus for the first time, navigating through the legions of boisterous students ready to live their independent lives. But are they really ready? Go into any college dorm and books like Freshman Survival Guide stock the shelves. The most common question among freshman students is we have to make our own laundry? Suddenly, living as an independent person seems much trickier than before and those Freshman Survival Guides become the equivalent of the Bible, allowing students to navigate the everyday struggles of adulthood. All this, even before classes start.

After settling into college, students’ usually rigorous and healthy habits get tossed to the door. Freshmen tell themselves they’re going to go to the gym, but today they became busy, the next day too and suddenly all week they don’t have time to go to the gym and they ask themselves why I am even paying the recreation fee? Mothers preach eating vegetables at home but now students are independent, so who needs vegetables? The colorful “green things” suddenly become replaced with the bright-colored gelato that’s showcased in the front of the Barrett dining hall, for all to see. Healthy eating habits become tossed aside because students are finally independent, and next thing you know, they’ve gained the freshman fifteen.

But think positively. College is the pathway to a successful job as the degree propels graduates beyond those who didn’t suffer through the rigorous experiment of living independently and attending school. Scholars can sleep every night understanding better days are on the horizon, and the current struggle is only temporary. After all, being independent is permanent from now on.

Always remember the excitement and anticipation of the newfound independence suddenly at your doorstep. There are endless benefits to college, stemming from your new individualistic lifestyles. Yet most importantly, college represents a learning experience for individuals with newfound independence.

The author's comments:

Wrote about my current college experience.

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