Why I Hated My College Life but Had to Stay
Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash
College life is often seen as a time of self-discovery, learning, and making lifelong memories. However, for some students, it can be a challenging and unpleasant experience. In my case, I found myself hating my college life but had no choice but to stay. In this article, I will share why I felt this way, including the pressure from my parents, fear of society, uncertainty about life goals, and the lack of a mentor.
While “hate” may be a strong word, it is an appropriate choice in this context as it accurately reflects my personal experience and emotional state. While I had a negative experience in college, I am grateful for the few good folks who spent quality time with me during that period. Also, I’m not jotting this down to blame anyone.
I felt like I had to put on a façade of happiness and enthusiasm around my batchmates. I didn’t want them to know how miserable I was feeling, and I didn’t want to be seen as odd. So, I would force myself to smile, laugh at their jokes, and engage in small talk. But inside, I was dying. I felt like a fraud, constantly fearing that someone would see through my act.
The pressure from parents to pursue higher education can be immense. Many parents see college as a gateway to a better future for their children, and they expect them to excel in academics and secure a good job after graduation.
In my case, my parents had high expectations for me and my academic performance. They had invested much money (in my name, as a student loan) and effort in my education and expected me to achieve great things. This put much pressure on me, and I felt like I was always trying to live up to their expectations. It was exhausting, and I found myself struggling to enjoy college life.
Moreover, I felt like my every move was being scrutinized by society. I was constantly worried about what my parents’ friends, relatives, and neighbors would think of me. Would they judge me for not being the bright one or for not having a clear career path? Would they think less of me if I failed to meet their expectations? These were the questions that plagued me and made my college life even more unbearable.
In addition, I was unsure about my life goals and career aspirations. I didn’t have a clear sense of what I wanted to do with my life after college, making it difficult to find motivation and meaning in my studies.
I felt like I was just going through the motions, taking classes and completing assignments, without any real purpose or direction.
Lastly, I lacked a mentor or role model who could guide me through my college years. I had no one to turn to for advice, support, or inspiration. This made me feel lost and confused, and I often wished I had someone who could show me the way.
Despite all these challenges, I had to stay in college.
I was afraid.
I thought dropping out of the first year was not an option, as it would have disappointed my parents and “society.” I believed completing my degree was important for my future, and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. However, this meant that I had to find ways to cope with my negative feelings and make the best of my situation.
One way I coped was by seeking out new things beyond my academia. I joined small communities aligned with my interests, allowing me to connect with like-minded people and find a sense of community. I also explored different career paths and took classes that piqued my curiosity, which helped me discover my passions and interests.
However, looking back, I can see that my difficult college experience ultimately helped me become more independent and expand my horizons. I had to learn to be self-sufficient and rely on myself rather than on others. I also learned to be resilient in the face of adversity and to persevere even when things seemed impossible. These are valuable life lessons that have served me well beyond college.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, seek out resources and support services on campus, connect with others who share your interests, and take the time to explore your passions and interests. Remember, college is just one chapter in your life, and many opportunities and possibilities await you.