What to Do When the Newness of College Wears Off
College is the place. The place to meet new people, get involved, try new things and find yourself. College is exciting don’t get me wrong… but what do you do when the newness of college wears off?
Yes – this time is exciting…But do not let the utopian ideals of the “stereotypical college life” fool you. You will have a great time – of course. But I have come to tell you that – you will have plenty more times that aren’t so great. These are the ups and downs of the college experience and ultimately the ups and downs of life. So, when you find that your college experience is no longer sunshine and rainbows – know that you are not alone, and life (as it always does) will soon turn itself around again.
It all starts with the time leading up until move in day of your freshman year – This is phase 0. This time can be full of both anxiety (about the unknown) and excitement (to start a new chapter.) It is all about preparation. Planning your classes, finding a roommate, finding out where you’re going to live, packing… The overwhelming excitement and anxiety all leads up until the moment you move in.
Everything in phase 1 is new and exciting. Finally going off to college, living on your own, being away from your parents, going Greek (if you so choose) and starting over. No one knows the high school you – this is your time to start completely fresh.
This is also the friendship stage. You will find yourself surrounded with lots of friends. But these people will not be there forever. It sounds dark, but trust me. Stage 1 is not just about friends but finding good ones. This requires you to hop around to different groups – only then will you find so called life long friends.
Generally your sophomore year, but not always. By this point you have found your way around campus and have learned which friends are ones to stay. More importantly, this is a self discovery phase. While this is a never ending cycle throughout life – Now especially is when you start finding yourself. Who am I? Why am I here? Who do I want to become? Where am I going?
You might notice that these questions weren’t asked freshman year. That’s because you had four years to figure it out. But now – the pressure is on. You won’t have to stress as much as next year – but this is definitely the year in which life starts asking you questions. You may begin to realize that life doesn’t just knock on your door with opportunity – you have to go out and earn it.
I like to call this the uh oh phase. Previously in discovery phase, you are now at a point of realization. You begin to realize that you no longer have four more years to figure yourself out. You’re halfway done with college and if you haven’t already, you must declare your major…Find an internship… Make yourself look employable…etc etc. Thinking about post-graduation life is the definition of pressure. sigh.
This stage can look different for everyone. You may find yourself overwhelmed. Going into autopilot mode to get everything and more checked off the list. You will experience highs and probably more lows. Hopefully, you will use your friends and family as your support system. And finally – both mentally and physically exhausting, this phase will test you. But trust me when I say – you are not alone.
Finally – phase 4. Is it over yet? Can I be done? But wait…I’m not ready. This is a stage of uncertainty. You’ve put in all of this hard work in preparation, but what now? Four years and you still will have absolutely no idea what to expect. Again, this is normal and you are probably much more prepared than you think you are. But in the same instance, you are also right when you say that you know nothing. There’s still so much that college doesn’t teach you – things you only figure out in the real world – things you will probably find out the hard way. This is life.
Now before leaving on a bad note – remember that this is only four stages. There are many more moments and experiences woven in between that make college worth every second and every penny. These are the moments that might go by unnoticed due to life passing us by too quickly. Like living with some of your closest friends, cheering alongside fellow Cyclones at a football game… If you stop and think – only then will you be reminded of why you’re here, and why you were excited in the first place.
So, when the newness of college wears off – I can tell you exactly what to do and that is this: Nothing – Don’t do anything!
I know, crazy right? You read this far to be told that you are doing absolutely everything right. Gasp!
The fact of the matter is this: College (like life) is going to be hard. That’s just how it is! There are going to be exciting moments just as there are doing to be dull ones. Don’t expect yourself to fix anything and don’t expect yourself to know exactly what to do. You are doing just fine!
Thanks for reading!